How to do a hill start without stalling

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

Learning to drive is a great way to gain independence and to open up opportunities, but there will be challenges along the way. Once you’ve got the hang of handling the vehicle, your driving lessons will cover all of the driving skills you’ll need for your test and life on the road. This will include the required manoeuvres for your test, and also other skills like hill starts and navigating without instructions.

Uphill starts

Moving off when on an uphill slope is trickier than moving off on a flat road. You will need to make sure the car is secured by the handbrake in order to prevent your car from rolling backwards, but you’ll also have to make sure you apply enough pressure on the gas pedal to stop the engine from stalling.

Step 1

Select first gear, bring the clutch up to the biting point. To find your biting point, look the centre of your bonnet and gradually lift up your clutch until you see it dip slightly. At this point, you should apply pressure on the accelerator. You’ll need to apply more than usual, but not so much that your car jerks when you pull off. Your driving instructor will instruct you on how much pressure you should apply on the gas pedal.

Step 2

Check your mirrors, signal if necessary, and check your blind spots.

Step 3

Release your handbrake. Your car should not roll back if you have found the biting point and are applying enough pressure on the accelerator. Release the clutch slowly and apply more pressure on the accelerator as you pull away.

Downhill starts

Many people find moving off when on a downhill slope much easier than on an uphill slope, but you still need to make sure you’re in control of the vehicle.

1. Don't roll forwards

When moving off from a downhill position, you need to ensure you don’t roll forwards before you intend to. When releasing the clutch, keep your foot on the footbrake instead of on the accelerator.

2. First gear

Select first gear, check your mirrors, signal if necessary and check your blind spots. If all is clear, keep your foot on the footbrake, release the handbrake and bring the clutch up to the biting point.

3. Releasing the footbrake

As you release the footbrake, you should start to pull away. Slowly lift your foot off the clutch and accelerate gently as you start to build momentum.

Remember, practice makes perfect

Performing a hill start might seem daunting at first, but once you get used to completing the manoeuvre, it will become just another part of driving. Practice makes perfect, so repeat the hill start manoeuvre until you’re 100% confident in it.

Don’t rush your hill start if asked to perform it on your driving test. Take your time to find the biting point and don’t release the handbrake until you are sure the car won’t roll back.