Manual Driving, The art of the clutch

One of the more difficult items in relearning how to drive a manual car is getting clutch control perfect.

What was never really explained to me by.. anyone.. was that with the clutch in, the engine disconnects, thereby making the driveshaft freespin.

Essentially, with the clutch in, the engine will simply sit and spin, with the wheels disconnected (and essentially in freespin or stopped).

Now, while trying to get to grips with learning how to drive a manual car (again), you consider the process of moving off the kerb. No easy process starting out if you have no real idea on what you are doing.

Actually, this reminds me of a news story where some kids got busted stealing a car.. The problem? They couldn’t work out how to start it, as it was a manual.

The process of starting the car is easy, clutch in, select neutrel, start the car with a gentle amount of fuel.

Release clutch while in neutrel.

Car is started and won’t move at all (so long as park brake is on, or your on a flat surface, and no one is pushing you, or wind isn’t at cyclonic speeds).

Moving off is the harder part for what I would guess, everyone who doesn’t actually know whats happening, and isn’t being told the process. It’s not as easy as a manual.

The process however, I think I have got pretty much worked out completely (again).

With the car started in neutrel, indicate to show you are leaving.
Select first gear, leave the clutch in.
Drop the park brake.
Apply the foot brake.
Check mirrors.
Check blind spot. <-- Always do this. Apparently, its a key test item from the RTA. Release foot brake. Apply some fuel, not too much, otherwise the engine will roar. Come up with clutch, gently, but not all the way, to 'friction point'. As the car starts to move out, drive out into the lane. Release the clutch after two car lengths. Change to 2nd. Away it goes. Believe it or not, that was so difficult to pick up on, when you are being told ONLY to bring the clutch up to friction point (and therefore, stalling). I'm amazed at just how easy that was to pick up on after being instructed correctly. Applying the fuel is certainly easier, and a lot more definite, and will nearly always prevent stalling! I suppose this demonstrates that you can explain something to someone 100 different ways, and until its explained correctly, in a clear, concise manner, you are basically stabbing in the dark. Today, my drive consisted of a dash out towards Toukley, and was actually a great drive compared to previous experiences. Today was mostly error free, with the exception of taking an intersection right turn too soon (good thing the instructor came out of it OK), and then at a rather blocked off street, making a right turn into busy traffic, with the blockout situation. Still haven't got the art of creeping up to see there yet. And also coming from a 90 (80) zone to a 40 school zone is sort of painful. Not easy to stay below 40, when you have just been doing 80 for the last 20 mins. My goal here however, is to be licenced before Christmas, sooner if possible. Driving has become a more "addictive". I really do enjoy it, and unfortunately for all the IT related stuff, I tend to put that aside for many other things. Come to think about it, things I put the more productive sides of IT away for, include: 1. Whirlpool. I'm truly a Whirlpool Forums Addict. 2. This blog. I update it generally once a day. 3. Games on MSN. Just general games on MSN, they are fun, and certainly better than crunching code. 4. My fiance and child. I love them so much that I do enjoy spending time with them. 5. Driving. I really do enjoy. 6. TV. I watch some TV shows regularly. I love Futurama, and my child followed me into The Simpsons. Thank God You're Here got my attention, and has kept it (but back on break again). Those are really what I step away from things like OzVoIPStatus for. If I stopped part of the above tasks, I probably would put more time into the IT related stuff, like designing the website for the web hosting operation (or even a more general website focusing on all aspects of what I do / have done, but that's a HUGE task alone cataloging everything I've put time into). So, I do think the goal once I get my licence will obviously be the savings involved in regular transport costs, plus the simple flexibility of GOING ANYWHERE, ANYTIME is great. It's fun. Good fun. Fun things stimulate us. They can become addictive. But if something is fun, addictive and productive, well, in the words of 'The Veronicas' - Hook Me Up. Enjoy!

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