How to Drive Uphill?
Driving uphill is one of the trickiest skills to master as a learner driver in a manual vehicle.
When driving uphill, the engine has to use more power to drive the vehicle up the hill.
When driving uphill:
- You’ll find it more difficult to maintain or increase your speed. The engine has to work harder to make the vehicle go faster.
- Your brakes or coming off the gas will slow the vehicle more quickly.
- Often, you’ll need to change to a lower gear to keep the revs up and maintain the speed. When changing gear, the vehicle decelerates more quickly, making the revs drop quickly; so you need higher revs to allow for a quicker gear change. This is what can take learners time to understand.
- Apply the parking brake when stopping on a hill. You can then release the footbrake without falling back, allowing you to find the bite point and have the gas ready to do the uphill start.
Check the Gradient
Look out for road signs telling you the steepness of the hill, e.g. 20% or 1:5. This means for every 5 feet along, the road rises 1 foot. The higher the percentage, the steeper the hill.
When approaching a hill, check in advance to see how steep it is. You can then plan your speed and choice of gear before you are on the hill. The key to good uphill driving is to listen to the revs of the engine. When you start to hear the engine note dip, it is a sure sign the engine wants to go to a lower gear. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear.
Would you overtake on a hill?
Never park or overtake on the brow of a hill. It is one of the most dangerous moves to make. Parking there means vehicles have to overtake blindly, not knowing if there is oncoming traffic from the other side of the hill. For the same reason, you wouldn’t overtake on the brow of a hill.
Rick Hardcastle (ADI)