Driving Lesson Stalling on the Test

If you are taking driving lessons in a manual car, then sooner than later you will stall the car at one point or the other, and usually there will be a vehicle behind you which causes a lot of learner drivers to panic and further stall on their next attempt to move off.

Before I talk about what to do when you stall a car, especially on the driving test, lets have a look at why a manual transmission vehicle stalls when you attempt to drive off.

When a manual car stalls, it is a way of the engine telling you that you have placed too much load on it, and as a safety measure to avoid any damage, it switches off.
The 3 main ways to stall a car are:

1. Improper coordination of the clutch and accelerator. If you lift the clutch pedal up too quickly, then the car stalls. Many learners when under a little pressure (at traffic lights or performing a hill start on a junction for example), will start bringing up the clutch slowly, but immedately the vehicle shows signs of moving, lift the left foot up as if they stepped on a hot potato barefooted and stall. The correct thing to do is continue the slow but definite lifting of the left foot as the right foot depresses the gas pedal gradually.

2. Moving off in the wrong gear. Many provisional licence holders will stall the vehicle because they attempt to move off in 2nd or 3rd gear usually at a junction. While it is possible to do so under some circumstances (downhill, using a lot of gas), most of the time it will result in a stall.

Stalling on the driving test

3. You can also stall the car when stopping if you fail to depress the clutch quickly enough.

If you stall while on your practical car assessment with the driving examiner next to you, the first thing to know is that you have committed a driver error, it will be marked (not always immediately) as a fault under 'moving off under control', so don't make things worse by not following the correct procedure to recover.

The most important thing is not getting the car moving ASAP, but keeping the car safe and under control, so you need to stop the vehicle with the footbrake, apply the handbrake, put the car in neutral (you don't always have to do this, but if you stalled because you were in the wrong gear, then this automatically stops you from doing it again, something I've seen nervous candidates repeat). Re-start the engine, put in first gear, check mirrrors and move off swiftly but properly coordinating clutch and gas pedal.

The worst thing you can do is panic, depress the clutch, trying to re-start asap, with the car rolling either forward or backwards out of control!

If you are having problems stalling a car, then you need to ask your driving instructor to take you to a quiet road and practise moving off swiftly in various conditions (uphill, down hill, flat, at an angle) till you are confident, but remember even experienced drivers stall so you will not be perfect, but everytime you do stall follow the procedure above to get yourself back moving.

If you require high quality affordable driving lessons from a very helpful, patient and fully qualified instructor, then why not call or send me a text message on 07956233032

Thinking about becoming an instructor? Don't just make a decision based on the red driving school TV advertisement, do the proper research and know all the ADI training options available to you.

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