Ignasi, I live in Canada and have visited and driven in the US on many
occasions. I share your observations. America is a wonderful country
with an enviable love and respect for freedom.
Unfortunately, as in all things human - some people don't know where to
stop in all this pursuit of personal expression of freedom and
individualism. It can be chaotic. It's not easy to have everyone
understand where to draw the line. Two sides of the same coin.
Despite our earlier unpleasantries, I must say your home town is quite nice.
My oldest daughter lived there for a couple years between undergrad and grad
school and we ended up buying a flat along Travessera de Dalt. Haven't been
back since 2003, but have to be in Italy this fall and my wife's demand is
we set aside time to visit Barcelona. I am looking forward to spending some
time there again.
As for your following comment...........
As Jeff said, our standard is that the car not move back a whit when
starting on a hill. The examiner cares not how you do this. My guess
is that a reasonable examiner in the UK would likewise not care. Why
not ask one? You're a lot closer to them than I am.
I have also seen several German drivers heel-and-toe to start on a hill
without using the parking brake.
I have of course seen any number of sloppy drivers go backward when
starting on a hill, and have no clue whether how they are trying to
avoid it though I have found this much more prevalent in the USA than I
have seen in the UK, Germany, France, or even Canada.
By the way, I looked at the MOT rules of the road on their website and
don't find anything about *how* one controls the car in this situation.
Our rules are much the same (except for that little matter of driving
on the correct--er, right--side of the road).
....or at the bottom of a hill.
Which probably explains why most of the people here who don't understand
that a person can acquire the skill to move any car, with any weight or
power levels, up a hill and in control, without ever engaging the parking
brake, are not American.
If you guys are taught to put the brake on everytime the cars stops, then it
would seem natural for you to rely on the handbrake when negotiating an
incline from standing start.
Perhaps all the vehicles sold outside the UK have pedals suitable for
operating with two feet by everyone? If so, how do you explain the large
Renault van I recently drove which it was impossible to heel and toe on -
the pedals were too widely spaced and in such a place that didn't allow me
- at least - to pivot my foot sufficiently. And the handbrake in a near
impossible place for the driver to use - obviously left over from LHD.
The only practical way so to start off on a steep hill without rolling
back was to get the passenger to operate the parking brake, or to hold it
on the clutch all the time.
*Why do psychics have to ask you for your name? *
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
Or perhaps people who regularly heel & toe, don't buy cars with pedal
layouts ill-conceived for that technique. Most of us test drive cars before
buying and wouldn't it seem likely that we would at some point recognize
whether or not that car suits our needs. For example: someone like Ignasi,
who uses the handbrake regularly, isn't likely to decide to buy a manual
tranny car with a foot operated parking brake (ala Cadillac), is he?
Well, we would have to agree it is "so".
I'm sorry, but I can no sooner explain a French car, than I can flowery
French prose. Maybe when Nissan decides to imply a bit more influence on
Renault, that van will be better organized.
Yes, you're right. My bad. That would be an interesting point
regarding the manual CTS models.
I haven't tested those cars as their interiors are too plain and I am
only looking for an upscale roadster anyway. I imagine the CTS brake
pedal would work OK if it has a convenient hand-operated release.
So your car slid back more than 3 inches, right? Does that mean you
often roll back 3 inches on a hill start and not have an accident
because the cars behind were otherwise farther than 3 inches from your
That's terrible Jeff. You would never have passed a proper driving
test. You can't roll backwards at all on a hill start in a test.
People who live in hilly locations where people have to test in a
manual transmission car will tell you that.
Did it not occur to you that you would have not slid into that car if
you had applied your handbrake?
brake as a
Be careful about teaching your children how to drive.
It is often better to have them learn from a good professional
instructor. A parent's self-esteem often gets in the way when teaching
a child. Doesn't happen in every case but it can confuse the task.
It's not HP Jeff. It's torque. What matters at low speeds is torque,
not HP. Unlike what Fred quoted, it's also not peak torque but low-end
torque that is relevant here.
And it was important to include the words "manual transmission" because
it would be a non-issue if my car had an automatic transmission. Get
Normally I am happy to let people try my cars but if you are in the
habit of slipping the clutch unnecessarily then I'd probably decline,
I'm sure you'll understand.
Sorry Jeff, I was wrong about this point. You're right. Actually, if
the foot brake pedal is not too far off at an odd location, it should
be easy to use.
No, LESS than 3 inches. The car behind was "within 3 inches", that means
closer. The car stopped too close to me. And, it was when I was first
driving, and I can start my car on a hill today without rolling at all.
Cars had no handbrake at the time. American cars never had hand brakes until
they started appearing in the last 15 years or so.
You are full of shit.
I get it completely. It is you that can't drive without a crutch. You said
that I must not drive a manual, and I assumed you thought I drove an
automatic. That was my mistake, it appears that your point was the weight
and the power, not the transmission.
The only driver that I ever rode with that used his handbrake on a hill also
thought he had to depress the clutch at freeway speeds before he could use
the brake. He thought the motor would stall unless the clutch was used. He
also didn't believe that if he simply took his foot off the gas earlier, he
could avoid using the brakes in most cases.
I don't slip the clutch. My clutch is original with 210,000 miles on it. I
am quite sure that I use it properly.
It would be easy in theory, difficult in practice because the hand operated
brake is much easier to modulate and set to the right level, and it is
easier to release for the same reasons.
Beside all of that, I don't do it. I don't need to do it.
Hmm. So you were in your driver's seat and you were sure the bumper of
the car behind was "less than 3 inches" from your bumper. Interesting.
Ever wondered why they started to appear in American cars?
Well, you just proved my point.
Actually I did not say you drove an automatic. But never mind.
Can't comment too much on your friend but I also observe that most
drivers over here use their brakes unnecessarily when they can just
coast without throttle to slow down on the freeway. In many cases, it
does not matter if they were driving an automatic because I notice the
same thing even when I am driving my truck, which has an automatic
However, none of this has nothing to do with using the handbrake in
Well, yes, since it took so short a distance to actually hit the other car.
If I didn't roll more than 3 inches, then the car must have been closer than
3 inches. The fact that this needs explaining is interesting ...
Cost down? Ease of use? Any number of other reasons.
You are full of shit. I have no self-esteem issues, and both of my kids can
drive just fine. They began driving at the tender age of 12 when I bought my
I said that. Yo said something that I took to mean that I drove an
automatic, when I went back and reviewed, I noticed you didn't say that at
all. Your point was the weight and power, not the transmission. But
Except that the same guy that used the handbrake to start on a hill also
used the clutch at freeway speeds because he feared that not using it would
stall the engine. He was not very good with his clutch, AND he used the hand
brake for hill starts. Given his inability to understand exactly how and
when the engine would stall, his use of the hand brake at a time when I have
never used it only tells me that this is not a common practice.
Come on Jeff, that couldn't be the reason. It has to be because for more
than 75 years no one in America was able to drive up a hill. And damn it, we
wanted to drive up a hill just like the rest of the world!
For what little it's worth, I agree 100% with Jeff about using the
service brake rather than the parking brake to start the car on a hill.
I, too, have driven any number of cars (and even some trucks) with
manual transmissions. I've yet to resort to using the parking brake in
practice, though I have tried it to see what you're all on about.
I use heel-and-toe to avoid going backward. I've taught several others
how. Nobody seems to have had much difficulty learning it so far. (As
a side note, heel-and-toe is such a useful thing to know that I cannot
imagine life without it. I consider it a basic driving skill.)
It does not take exceptional skill or require more clutch slip to start
a car on a hill using heel-and-toe.
It does prevent the car from rolling backward on any grade when moving
off (I taught my son how on the steepest hill I could find).
Jeff Strickland wrote:
I too use it on a manual. Of course it's more either side of the right
foot, than heel and tow. But not all vehicles have the pedals suitably
positioned, and not all people have suitable feet. ;-)
And I'd not agree anyone can learn how to do it safely. Therefore agree
with the UK way of teaching - and insisting - a learner driver can and
does use the handbrake for hill starts - even with an auto. If they
subsequently - after gaining experience - decide to learn how to 'heel and
tow' that's fine by me.
*Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
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