Cars going uphill and downhill

Tips for Teaching Hill Starts

Before you begin thinking how and where to teach hill starts, you might first be thinking ‘do I need to teach hill starts at all?’

Do I Need to Teach Hill Starts?

This really depends on the location of your test centre. Some parts of the country are almost entirely flat, whilst other parts are hilly. If your test centre is located in a hilly area, then you’ll need to be teaching hill starts.

From the test centre, test routes can have a radius of a good 5 mile or more. The test centre’s manager (head examiner) is responsible for devising test routes. If the roads allow, examiners usually like to see a hill start.

Automatic Car Creep Function

Automatic cars do come equipped with the creep function, which in many instances will prevent rolling backwards on a hill. But if you live in an areas with fairly steep hills, the creep function may not be enough to prevent rolling backwards. Rolling backwards on a driving test is considered a loss of control and is likely to result in a fail.

Before Teaching Hill Starts

Before you begin teaching your learner driver how to move off on a hill, ensure that they are confident with the car’s foot controls and that they have plenty of practice with:

Then, find a quiet road that’s on a slope to begin practice. You can now follow the hill starts in an automatic car tutorial. Each car is a little different, so you may need to adapt the moving off on a hill technique for your particular car.

Downhill Starts and Speed Control

If you’re in a hilly area, you may also need to practice downhill starts. Most downhill slopes, automatic cars can cope just fine by leaving the transmission in Drive (D), but if the slope is quite long and steep, you may need to make use of engine braking to help prevent the brakes from overheating.

To make the best use of engine braking, you’ll need to keep the car slow and in a low gear. Ensure you teach the learner driver how to select manual gears so that when they move of down a slope, they can switch from Drive (D) to Manual (M) gear selection. For help with understanding what to do here, see:

Whilst driving downhill in your automatic car, the examiner will expect to see the speed of the car kept under control. They will expect an appropriate speed for the specific road type.

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