5 BIG TOM tips for a smooth drive

BIG TOM has come up with a great blog to help their customers.  Here is a top 5 list of tips to help you provide a smooth ride to assist your confidence as well as be kind and thoughtful to your passengers.

Can you imagine how a chauffeur would drive when driving with newly weds in the car, or a VIP?  No-one would want to cause them to spill their champagne!  If you were driving and your Grandma was in the car, would she feel comfortable with the smoothness of the drive?  Did you know that sharp, last minute braking seriously affects the calmness of other road users around you? 

When you drive imagine there being a bowl of jelly on the dash board, when you complete your journey we still want to see an intact jelly on the dash!  To achieve this you don’t need to drive around like a snail annoying everyone around due to the slow speed, instead what you need to do is refine your technique so that your driving is more systematic, consistent and considerate to others.  Here are 5 tips to help you on your way:

 

Set feet  When you start to learn to drive it wont be obvious where the “biting point” on the clutch pedal is.  This is the point that you raise the clutch pedal to in order to engage the gear.  If you practise setting the clutch to the bite point PLUS setting the gas to a low humming noise, then you will start to achieve moving off from a standstill smoothly.  Get this wrong and drivers often stall or “bunny hop” down the road.

Think speed before gear  A very common error is putting the clutch down and then changing gear before you have set the speed you need.  It should be the other way round.  Place a bit more priority on looking at your speedo and appreciating speed before you just start changing gear.  This is especially true when the vehicle is in need of slowing.  The slowing part should be achieved by braking rather than putting the car in a lower gear and raising clutch – yes it will force the car to slow down but this is not good for your gearbox.

Get friendly with your handbrake  In order to make moving off smoother, it is essential that you “set the gas” with your right foot.  It is a common mistake to keep the right foot on the brake pedal when the car comes to a pause.  Whilst it is perfectly understandable why you might want to do this to prevent the car from rolling, get friendly with the handbrake, that will then enable your right foot to “set gas”.

Clutch down  To take the drive, the force, the propulsion out of the car, the clutch must go fully down.  If the clutch stays up, the car will want to continue on its way in whatever gear it is in.  So when you approach a junction, be sure to get the clutch down nice and early (2-3 car lengths away) because then the braking needed to pause the car can be smoother, more gradual and calmer.  If the clutch stays up too long, then the car approaches the junction too quickly and the braking will need to be harsher, sharper and this can seriously shock other road users around you.

Get busy with the gears  When accelerating away from a standstill, get cracking with the gears.  Move off in 1st gear, but don’t stay in it too long, it is not designed to be a gear you drive around in.  Change from 1st to 2nd once you have some momentum going, then likewise, 2nd to 3rd pretty soon after.  Holding out in lower gears when you are moving off from a standstill is not only uncomfortable as a passenger, but it is not good for the car and certainly not fuel efficient.  Do the upward gear changes sooner but certainly not quickly… there is no rush with gear changes, smoothness comes from slow gear changes. 

 

This blog will help you to achieve some smoother driving.  The tips will take practise.  One last little point to bear in mind when it comes to feet pressure on the pedals, is to not forget about your shoes!  You might be surprised; shoes/trainers with thick soles can make it more difficult to set gas, find the “biting point” or feather the brakes.  Some people even keep a pair of suitable “driving shoes” in their car for this very reason.  

 

BIG TOM Driving School  Intensive Driving Courses in Lincoln, Peterborough, Grantham, Stamford, Spalding and Boston.  Sales: 0775 607 1464

 

 

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