Good Driver Foot Control Hand Control The Driving Mirror
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  Making Things a Little Easier Good Driving Tips

Foot Control

Accelerator :


The accelerator is worked by the right foot. It is linked to the carburettor, a device supplying the correct mixture of air and petrol on which the engine runs, thereby controlling the power output of the engine. The further the pedal is pressed down, the greater the power output and the faster the car goes. When  you let the pedal up, or take your foot off altogether, the opposite happens and the car begins to slow down (unless you are going down a slope). This is because the engine is trying to run more slowly and is acting as a brake. The accelerator pedal is very sensitive and new drivers usually find it difficult to get just the right amount of pressure on it. Getting the 'feel' of the pedal needs practice, to avoid jerky starts or a roaring  engine.


Footbrake :


The brake pedal, like the accelerator, is worked by the right foot. This is convenient, because in driving you don't need to use these two controls at the same time. The brake pedal is placed immediately to the left of the accelerator and should be worked with the ball of the foot. Training in using the brake pedal include not only the application of the brake, but also practice in moving the right foot freely and accurately from the accelerator to the brake and back again without looking down at the pedals. This can be practiced while sitting in the driving seat without the engine running.

Under normal driving conditions, only this brake should be used. (The other braking control, the hand brake, is dealt with later.)  The harder the pedal is pushed down, the greater the braking effect and the more quickly the car will lose speed. In most situations, only light pedal pressure is needed to brake safely and smoothly.


Clutch :


The clutch is a device, which allows the engine to run without driving the wheels. In its simplest form, it is made up of two plates. One of them turns all the time the engine is running; the other is linked to the wheels and is moved only when it is touching the first one. When the clutch pedal is in its normal position, the two plates are held together by strong springs so that the engine will drive the car. Pushing the pedal down separates the plates and breaks the link between engine and wheels. To get a car on the move smoothly, the gap between these two plates has to be closed - but not too suddenly. This means letting the clutch pedal up until it reaches the point at which the two plates begin to come together. This point is called the 'biting point', 'point of contact' or 'take-up point'. With practice and experience, you will know just where it is. You will be able to feel it and also heat it, because the speed of the engine will drop.


Being able to sense this point is part of the secret of clutch control. The other part is being able to control the rest of the upward movement of the clutch pedal so that the two plates fit together without a jerk. This needs lots of practice. You must be as careful to let the clutch pedal come up slowly as you are gently using the accelerator. Ignoring these rules can cause a stalled engine or a jerky start.