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I have been studying how to drive manual before I actually practice on a car and I came across a bit of advice from Car Talk:

Tips for Stopping Briefly, Then Starting, on a Hill

If you're driving a stick shift and need to stop on a steep hill, here's a useful tip for holding the car on a hill without burning up the clutch: Use the parking brake. The parking brake can keep you from drifting backwards when you start up.

Here's how it works. When you're stopped on a hill with the transmission in neutral, apply the parking brake. When the light turns green, step on the clutch. Put the transmission into first gear. Now, slowly let out the clutch. When the clutch starts to engage, you can release the parking brake. At this point, you'll need to give the engine a little more gas than usual, to avoid rolling backwards. With a little practice, you can accomplish this maneuver without drifting back into the ornery trucker who's right behind your bumper.

It's not very clear, however, how one gets to a stop and what one does while stopped. This left me with two questions:

  1. From what I have learned, I must first engage the clutch before braking. Then once I'm at a full stop, do I keep both feet on the clutch and one on the brake, or can I release the clutch while keeping my foot on the brake, or can both be released? Does the same apply when I am not on an incline?
  2. At what point do I throw the shifter into neutral? Is as I am braking or after I have stopped?
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'once I'm at a full stop, do I keep both feet on the clutch and one on the brake' You have a lot of feet! –  Sam Whited Sep 27 '13 at 13:30
    
It's exactly the same as you would do on a flat piece of road. –  Juann Strauss Sep 27 '13 at 15:09
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closed as off-topic by Gabriel Mongeon, Brian Knoblauch, Nick C, Rory Alsop, Nick Oct 7 '13 at 18:44

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3 Answers

Firstly a slight bit of terminology to reduce confusion - the normal state of the clutch is engaged (i.e. engine connected to wheels), and you press the pedal to disengage it.

I don't disengage the clutch before braking. This allows me to use engine braking to help reduce the speed of the car - Once the speed of the car gets too low for the gear you're in, then you press the clutch. Whether you then change into a lower gear and repeat the process, or just use the brakes to stop is a contentious matter...

As you come to a halt, put the car in first gear ready to pull away, and keep your foot on the clutch. Reduce the pressure on the brake as the car stops. At this point (preferably just before, but you'll pick that up with experience), evaluate the duration of the stop - if you are just about to go (e.g. pulling out into traffic), stay as you are. If you are likely to be stopped for more than a few seconds (e.g. a red light), apply the parking brake, release the footbrake, and change to neutral.

Don't hold the footbrake when stationary for more than a few seconds, as your brake lights will dazzle the car behind.

I'll agree with Sam's final comment - You can't learn this by theory. Get out and practice, practice, practice. Listen to the engine and feel the car - You'll soon pick up the feel of the clutch and how the engine behaves.

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I agree with your braking to a stop technique. keep the car in gear and your foot OFF the clutch for as long as possible. Engine braking like this adds control, and you're ready to accelerate away should the need arise. the Don't hold the footbrake when stationary for more than a few seconds part I think is a bit of an opinion-based non-sequitur, and I think it confuses the "when do I change to neutral" question--one can change to neutral without the use of the parking brake. –  mac Sep 27 '13 at 16:17
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"Don't hold the footbrake when stationary for more than a few seconds, as your brake lights will dazzle the car behind." Can't say I've ever been blinded by brake lights; but I don't take issue with the idea of trying to spare another drivers eyes. This just seems a bit extreme to me (I'd rather use my normal brake than the parking brake personally) –  Sam Whited Sep 27 '13 at 17:01
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From what I have learned, I must first engage the clutch before braking. Then once I'm at a full stop, do I keep both feet on the clutch and one on the brake, or can I release the clutch while keeping my foot on the brake, or can both be released? Does the same apply when I am not on an incline?

It doesn't matter; not sure why you'd depress the clutch before braking, but if you're going to be stopped for a while there's no harm in taking it out out of gear and releasing the clutch. Obviously you'll want to have your foot on the brake if you're on a hill so you don't roll backwards (unless you're using the parking brake, but I never do because I'd just forget to take it off again and burn it up).

I generally advocate that people keep their foot on the brake when stopped (hill or no) just in case someone rear ends them (that way they don't go flying into the car infront of them as well).

At what point do I throw the shifter into neutral? Is as I am braking or after I have stopped?

Again, whenever you feel like. I generally leave it in gear and just take my foot off the gas (engine braking) as I roll to a stop (maybe with a tiny bit of normal braking just so my brake lights are on and the guy on his cell phone not paying any attention behind me doesn't hit me). This does two things:

  1. Saves gas (in neutral you're using a bit of gas to keep the engine running, when engine braking the engine is kept running by the forward momentum of the car turning the wheels)
  2. Ensures that if someone cuts you off or does something else stupid, you can get away quicker (you don't have to waste time putting it back into gear)

Once my RPM starts to get a bit low I'll throw it into neutral and come to a normal full stop (or downshift if I'm in a high gear and still have a lot of stopping distance to go).

Overall I think you're overcomplicating things. You can't study this out of a book; in fact, I'd worry that this is going to make it even harder for you to pick up because you've got a bunch of 'do this' and "don't do that" nonsense from the internet to think about which is just going to make things overly confusing. Each person has their own driving style, and that has to come naturally.

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When you are full stop engage the parking brake and drop the stick to netural. When you are going to start at green then push gently gas pedal, release slowly the clutch and the parking brake at once.

The trick is to release the parking when the clutch is halfway up. This way the engine is going to keep you in position for moment then you could accelerate.

This allows your legs and you clutch to take some rest while waiting for green.

Quite hard to master bc. you have to coordinate three things at once. For the first few times try give more gas to avoid halting.

A more detailed answer: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Started-on-a-Hill-when-Driving-a-Manual-Transmission-Car

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