Moving Off Downhill Tutorial

On your driving test, when performing a downhill start, the examiner will expect you to:

When moving off downhill, there are times, such as in heavy traffic, at junctions, or when moving out from behind parked vehicles, when you will need to restrain the speed of your car and move off very slowly. To do this, you must keep the clutch just below the biting point and use the footbrake to prevent the car from rolling away too quickly.

Driving Downhill

The danger here is that driving downhill can make your car pick up unwanted speed. Slowing your car down by only using the brakes isn't the best practice, as this can overheat the brakes, making them lose effectiveness. You should also use the engine brake. Do this by changing into a lower gear. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear you should use.

Remember, when driving downhill, your stopping distance will increase, especially if the road is wet. The risk of skidding also increases, so engage your brakes gently and try and leave a four-second gap between you and any vehicle in front.

In comparison to driving on the level, when driving downhill:

Warning Signs

When approaching a hill, you will see a warning sign that tells you how steep the upward slope is.

The figure shown as a percentage (in the image 10%) tells you the gradient of the slope. So 10% means for every ten feet along (horizontal), the road rises one foot (vertical).

Downhill Road Sign

Parking On a Hill

Make sure your handbrake is firmly engaged. If facing downhill turn the front wheels into the kerb and put the car into reverse gear. If facing uphill turn the wheels away from the kerb and engage first gear.

Next - Moving Off Uphill