A car with manual transmission will present you with a unique set of challenges. Managing the gear stick with the clutch is the bane of a lot of beginners and can even plague the most veteran drivers. It really takes practice and repetition to get the hang of driving stick.
Downhill driving is one of those challenges that the driver will inevitably encounter during the course of his life. Going downhill with an automatic car is of course not too difficult. All you have to do is keep both hands on the wheel and point the car to where you want to go. Does this mean driving stick shift will be more difficult? Yes and no. Experience drivers will know what to do while novices might be a little more careful. Here is how to handle the clutch while driving downhill.
Safety first. Before driving downhill, before driving period, always make sure that your car is in tip-top shape. This means that your tires have the right amount of air in them, the battery is charged, the lights are working and the brakes aren’t shot. Make all changes and fix every broken part before you go on a trip. Getting it fixed on the road can be one huge hassle. Make sure that your windows and door locks are working properly. Never ever forget to put on your seatbelt. Persons sitting in the back should be wearing their seatbelts; most of the time, the most dangerous place to be is at the back, in the middle. Wearing your seatbelt will protect yourself and the others in the car. Safety comes first every single time. Never forget this.
Driving stick. Manual transmission cars require you to step on another pedal, the clutch, to shift gears. Mishandling of the clutch can cause your engine to die while driving. Best way to avoid this is to practice, practice, practice. Never get in front of a wheel without knowing what to do with the other levers and switches in the car.
Going down. Driving down a steep hill presents drivers with a problem. Operating the clutch requires you to gradually let go as you build up speed but driving downhill changes the situation greatly since gravity will be pulling you down. If you stick your car in neutral while going downhill, you will accelerate faster and faster and might not be able to control the car. The solution to this is to put your car in a low gear, usually first, to maintain a manageable speed. Simply step on the clutch and downshift to first, and you won’t need the brakes to slow down as keeping your car in a low gear will slow down the car for you but remember to take your foot of the clutch once in motion or else the gear won’t be engaged and it will be as if you put it to neutral. Going downhill can be very dangerous so exercise extreme caution whenever you have to drive down an incline.
Do not be scared of a long drive downhill. All you need to do is keep your wits about you and simply engage a low gear on your car. Always be ready to slam the brakes or put on the handbrake though. Keep both hands on the wheel and you should be just fine.