It is probably safe to say that most people expect to stall
the car on their first lesson, and any stall is usually accompanied by a number
of hops and jerks. In order to prevent this it is important to understand what
is going on when we move the clutch pedal.
From the earlier post about clutch control we have learnt the following...
"...Basics of how the clutch works
The clutch is made up of two plates that separate when the clutch pedal is pushed down and come together when the clutch pedal is lifted up. When the clutch plates are separated the engine is not connected to the wheels so it won't drive them. When the clutch plates are together the engine is connected to the wheels and so it makes them turn.
It is important to understand that, in order for the car to respond smoothly, you MUST NOT allow the clutch pedal to come up too quickly so that the plates slam together. Smoothness comes from allowing the clutch pedal to come up slowly and very carefully so the plates join together gently.
The Biting Point
The biting point is the moment when the two clutch plates just start to touch together and the wheels begin to turn. This is the critical point where the term "Clutch Control" gets its name. Being able to control the clutch pedal around the biting point is tricky to learn but once mastered makes driving and controlling the car far easier... "
PREPARE the car
So, to move off cleanly and smoothly first we need to "set the gas" which means apply a small amount of accelerator and hold it. Next we need to find "the biting point" of the clutch and hold the pedal still.
OBSERVE your surroundings
Before releasing the Hand brake, look in all mirrors and check your blind spots for other road users. If we require a signal to tell someone we are about to move we apply a right signal. If there is no one to benefit then it is not necessary to signal.
MANOUEVRE the car away
When safe release the handbrake.
THE IMPORTANT BIT....
When the handbrake is released hold your feet still! Wait for the car to move and gain a little momentum (usually around 10 - 20 metres) then we can gently bring the clutch pedal all the way up whilst gently increasing the gas. It is this balance between the gas and the clutch that it is crucial to master. If you have worked on the clutch control we talked about in an earlier post then this balance may be easier to grasp.
The reason for holding your feet once you release the hand brake is very simple. In the description above about how the clutch works we mention 2 plates. One plate is connected to the engine the other to the wheels. When we bring the engine plate to the wheel plate we have to allow the wheel plate time to spin up to speed. If we don't do this the pressure of the 2 plates coming together to quickly will drain all the power from the engine and it will make the car jerk and hop as the engine struggles to keep going and then eventually it stalls.
To sum up
Prepare the car, (gear gas bite).
Look around including blind spots.
Release the handbrake and hold your feet allowing the car to move.
Once car has gained a little momentum gently allow the clutch to come all the way up.
Watch a video
It takes practice so don't lose faith.