Kids driving lessons - leaving car in gear when at traffic lights.

Leo

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Plus position on the road seems to be changed, I was always told to stay left in a lane but they are now told to stay closer to the centre line. Driving in the day with lights is now recommended but it wasn’t mentioned back in my day.
More than 30 years since I was learning, but at that stage it was stay to the left of the lane outside of built-up areas. In built-up areas you moved to the right of the lane to lower the risk of hitting pedestrians who might step off a footpath.
 

Peanuts

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I believe the modern way is that if you are first in line at the traffic light you should be in first gear with your foot on the clutch and the handbrake on.
That's my understanding too. If you're not the first in the queue then you're supposed to put the car into neutral.
 

Baby boomer

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My daughter is doing driving lessons and I'm also bringing her out between lessons. One thing that she's doing - and is really annoying me - is that when she's stopped at traffic lights, she pulls the hand brake up and leaves the car in gear with the clutch down.

We've had "discussions" (i.e. arguments) about this. My point is that if her foot slips off the clutch, then she'll rear end the car in front. She's saying that her instructor told her to do this because she could be marked down if she's slow to take off.
I'm genuinely shocked and horrified by this advice. Two reasons:

1) Safety. The obvious risk of foot slipping off clutch. Ok, there's a backup in terms of handbrake but why erode a primary safety measure (selecting neutral) and rely on the handbrake operating flawlessly every time?? This would not be an acceptable approach in industrial safety and accident prevention. And as we're talking about learner drivers, confusion and forgetting to engage handbrake can be a factor too.

2. Depressing the clutch needlessly causes excessive wear. Again not so much as perhaps 40 years ago but it's still bad for the clutch.

So, it may well be the advice currently given by driving schools, but I just find it wrong on so many levels. At best, it's a technique that might have merit for advanced driving courses only. I occasionally employ it myself, but even still, if pedestrians approach towards the front of the car, my immediate instinct is to select neutral.
Primary safety first, always. Only then do you rely on secondary safety measures like the handbrake.
 

Leper

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The main message I'm getting from this thread is that the average Irish Motorist knows the rules- of-the-road if front windscreen collides with a low flying Algerian turkey which escaped from some zoo. But, only few know the correct procedures when stopped at traffic lights. And they are only the two mark questions. It gets more interesting on the six mark questions on rules entering, driving on and exiting roundabouts.

Today is Friday and I am willing to concede that the average Dublin driver pays more attention to the rules of the road than most Cork drivers.
 

RetirementPlan

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I2. Depressing the clutch needlessly causes excessive wear. Again not so much as perhaps 40 years ago but it's still bad for the clutch.

So, it may well be the advice currently given by driving schools, but I just find it wrong on so many levels. At best, it's a technique that might have merit for advanced driving courses only. I occasionally employ it myself, but even still, if pedestrians approach towards the front of the car, my immediate instinct is to select neutral.
Primary safety first, always. Only then do you rely on secondary safety measures like the handbrake.
Does clutch wear relate to the depression movement, or to the holding-it-depressed position? I didn't think any wear would arise from holding it depressed, but I'm far from expert on such things.
 

bstop

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Does clutch wear relate to the depression movement, or to the holding-it-depressed position? I didn't think any wear would arise from holding it depressed, but I'm far from expert on such things.
When the clutch is held fully depressed the release bearing is spinning and this is causing bearing wear. The release bearing is not designed for continuous operation.
Regular periods of long clutch depression will cause premature failure of the release bearing and a costly repair bill.
 

Baby boomer

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Does clutch wear relate to the depression movement, or to the holding-it-depressed position? I didn't think any wear would arise from holding it depressed, but I'm far from expert on such things.
Very good question. It's actually both, but in different ways. "Slipping" the clutch is the worst thing you can do and the friction will quickly wear out the clutch plates. Remember the clutch mediates the force being transmitted from engine to gearbox. Ideally you want both to be spinning at as similar a speed as possible to minimize friction and wear. "Holding-it-depressed" means the plates are not in contact so, yes, you can say there's no frictional wear. BUT holding the clutch down is placing huge pressure on the springy fingers of the pressure plate which will eventually deform and fail.

Either way, it's going to be an entire new clutch!
 

Alkers86

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If you're first at the lights, for your driving test you should be in gear with the clutch depressed and handbrake on. If you just see the lights turn red, you might stay in neutral for a while before going into gear. If you're not first in the queue, you should be in neutral and handbrake on. If you arrive at a queue of traffic and have to stop but see the light turn green, you might still stay in gear also.

Bascially neutral and handbrake is the standard when waiting but should be in gear when it's nearing your time to move off.

The amount of clutch wear we are talking about here is miniscule.
 

Baby boomer

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The time saved depressing the clutch on green strikes me as the most miniscule part of this equation. Particularly as the green can be often anticipated if you've got a clear view of the signals and/or pedestrian lights in the perpendicular direction.

Set this miniscule time saving against the possibility of a footslip (especially for a learner) and - on safety grounds alone - it's a no brainer.
 

Leo

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The time saved depressing the clutch on green strikes me as the most miniscule part of this equation.
The topic here though is what examiners have been told to assess. Legitimate concerns about wear and tear can be used to inform post-test behaviour.
 

Peanuts20

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Purpose of having the handbrake on is that if you are rear ended, you are likely not to be pushed forward as much as if the handbrake was off. If the handbrake isn't working, then the car isn't fit to be on the road

Purpose of clutch/first gear is to enable the driver to make a smooth and speedy get away at the junction, not fiddling with gears and delaying traffic behind them.

You should never be anticipating the lights changing, too many idiots in this country see a light changing to Red as being a reason to put the boot down.

Of course, with more and more automatics on the road, all of this will, in time, go the same way as starting handles
 

Cervelo

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As far as I remember in the Eighties we were told when stopped at traffic lights was to keep the car in neutral and the handbrake on
I don't really remember my self ever really doing that after I passed my test, never saw the need and never burnt out a clutch either
I drive an automatic these days so it's not an issue but I still don't apply the handbrake when stopped at lights
But one thing I do remember from company insurance driving course that I attended in the late nineties was a green light is not an automatic right of way for a driver but rather a proceed with caution if the way is clear and from that day I have always taken an extra second or two to make sure the way is clear to move on. I don't get beeped and nobody seems to mind!!
 

RetirementPlan

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You should never be anticipating the lights changing, too many idiots in this country see a light changing to Red as being a reason to put the boot down.
The danger is real, though I don't think anticipation is the problem. Even when you've got a solid green, you need to be watching to both sides, just in case.
Of course, with more and more automatics on the road, all of this will, in time, go the same way as starting handles
:D:D:D
 

Paul O Mahoney

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Same with our 2 mind you they both passed first time. But driving seems more aggressive nowadays.
I'm glad I am unable, my stress levels would be worse.

Being from Cork we were told to leave the car in gear with the handbrake up ,just for parking. Cork is a hilly place and my first car was a 1977 fiesta with dubious breaks, clutch, no heater, automatic windows always down, but a sunroof........

£450 ........ what a car.
 

losttheplot

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Taking off at traffic lights with a queue behind you is probably one of the most stressful things when learning to drive. The car cuts out, cars start beeping and more panic sets in and then mistakes happen. So it probably removes that aspect.
 

Paul O Mahoney

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Taking off at traffic lights with a queue behind you is probably one of the most stressful things when learning to drive. The car cuts out, cars start beeping and more panic sets in and then mistakes happen. So it probably removes that aspect.
Or a hill start, remember those. Power steering has also helped with the 3 point turn I'd say.
 
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