How to move off in a car
On this page I’ll show you how to move off in a car because it’s not as easy as it looks.
It’s a difficult skill for learner drivers to master and those that think it’s easy are often doing it incorrectly.
It takes a lot of practice and coordination to be able to use the gas, clutch, handbrake and steering wheel all at the same time.
Watch the video below for a full guide with diagrams and lots of examples.
Problems moving off
The three most common problem pupils have when moving off are:
- Not pressing the gas BEFORE the clutch
- Lifting the clutch too high or too quickly
- Using the wrong method of moving off (flat/uphill/downhill)
There are three methods of moving off available. Choosing the correct one isn’t always essential but it certainly helps.
For example, you could do the uphill moving off method on a flat road and you would just pull away a bit quicker than you expect. Do the downhill method up a hill and you’ll be going nowhere!
I’ve written different pages for moving off on hills so for now let’s look at moving off on a flat road.
How to move off in a car on a flat road
The best way to so this is to follow a simple method called POSH which stands for:
- Press the clutch down with your left foot
- Move the gear stick into 1
- Press the gas slightly down with your right foot so you hear the engine hum
- Lift the clutch to the biting point
In this example we’re moving off from the left hand side of the road. If you’re on the right just swap the word right for left below
- Look ahead, in your middle mirror then in your right mirror
- Check over your right shoulder to see the blind spot. You do NOT have to look all around. It may be a good idea to but it is NOT compulsory for the driving test.
You only need to signal if anyone would benefit from it. There’s no point in signalling if nobody is around and that only gives the impression that you aren’t aware of your surroundings.
Don’t worry about signalling anyway on the driving test. Just make sure you signal with a few seconds of when you’re going to move. Don’t signal then look and realise you can’t go or you could have confused another road user who may be braking thinking you’re about to move off.
For the advanced driving test you’d be marked down for signalling when nobody is around. For the L test you won’t because it’s not as strict.
Release the handbrake and the car will start to move. At this point, very slowly press more gas and then hold the clutch still: don’t lift it.
You need to pause the clutch for around 3 seconds until you feel the pedal go looser under your foot. If it doesn’t loosen up then lift the clutch another 1 millimetre and wait another 3 seconds.
This pausing of the clutch pedal is essential yet it’s amazing how many driving instructors don’t teach it. The pause is the key to success!
Just lifting the clutch will result in many cars stalling a you can learn about on my page about gas then clutch or clutch then gas?.
That’s it – your car is moving!
I hope you have already learnt how to brake in a car because now you need to stop.
How to move off quickly in a manual car
I’ve written a whole page on how to move off quickly in a manual car so go and check it out to learn more.
You can see more of my driving lessons videos on my YouTube channel.