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Posted at: Jul 6, 2019, 2:58 AM; last updated: Jul 6, 2019, 2:58 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

An uphill task

There is a proper, recommended procedure for moving off uphill and from a red light. However, it is not followed here
An uphill task

H. Kishie Singh

Recently I had fun checking out some of the new cars in the market. One feature they all boasted in common was ‘hill hold’. What does this mean? And how does it help the driver?

For example, if you are crawling up a hill in stop-and-go mode, there is every chance that you may roll back at some stage. You will bump the car behind you and this could start an altercation. Hill hold is just that. It will not allow your car to slide back or forward.

Some of the older cars do not have this feature.

So, here is the procedure for moving off uphill and also from a red light. It is a recommended procedure around the world and a must. If you don’t follow this procedure while sitting for a driving test, you may get a rebuke from the instructor, “Read your manual and come back in three months”!

This is the proper procedure, from which there cannot be a deviation. 

Get into your car, close the door properly (so often you see a half closed door). Start the car, lower the window, put on the seat belt, check the lights on the dashboard. As the engine warms up, adjust your mirrors, AC, radio and whatever else. Once on the road, do not fiddle around with these controls, concentrate on driving. 

Next, put the car into gear and then, only then, release the handbrake.

On an uphill slope, this would prevent you from slipping backwards. Now all this is manual operation. However, some cars today are equipped with ‘hill hold control’. Without going into this manual procedure, the car will automatically ‘hold’ and not slide on a slope.

Waiting at a red light, your car should be in neutral, foot on footbrake, handbrake on.

Why? In case you get hit from the rear, the car will stay put, hopefully! Depends on the impact force!

If the car is in gear, your foot is depressing the clutch and you are bumped, your reaction will allow the foot to slip off the clutch pedal and the car to jump forward, ramming the car in front!

In Switzerland, if you are the first car at a red light next to the stop line, the zebra crossing is ahead of you. A policeman may peer into the car to check if the handbrake is on, foot is on the footbrake and car is in neutral. Why? In case of a rear-ender, the car will shoot forward, and could knock down a frail old lady on the zebra crossing.

A Swiss driving licence is one of the most difficult to get. The Swiss are extremely strict in issuing licences. And even stricter in enforcing road rules! Informatively, I have held a Swiss driving licence.

How difficult is it to get a Swiss driving licence? In Switzerland if you fail your driving test four times, you need to get “a positive psychological assessment on your ability to drive” before you can appear for another test. I think this is a polite way of declaring you mentally retarded! The point is clear. If you cannot pass a test in four attempts, you should not be on the road! More on the handbrake next time!

Happy Motoring!

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