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Motoring 101: You’ve been driving wrong all along

By , People Daily Digital
Saturday, December 4th, 2021 07:00 | 2 mins read
Coasting downhill is actually dangerous. The fuel saved, if any, is not worth it.

Automatic cars are popular because of a simple reason; accessibility.

Anyone vertical enough to reach the pedals can potentially drive an automatic car because apart from the basic requirement of motor coordination, little else will stop one from setting off.

When you grind a gear in a manual transmission, you feel the feedback of the same through your hand and somehow that makes it ‘real’.

With an auto, you barely interact with the transmission. This makes it easy to forget that it too, needs to be treated carefully.

Here are a few things to avoid when driving an auto.

Coasting downhill in neutral

This is plain dangerous. A car provides three control inputs; the steering wheel, the accelerator and the brakes, all defined by their purpose.

When your car is in neutral, you lose the acceleration, and while most accidents can be avoided by slowing down, sometimes it’s hitting the throttle that saves the day. The fuel saved, if any, is not worth it.

Not stopping before switching between drive and reverse

Patience really is a virtue, the absence of which can cost you dearly.
The work of the transmission is just that, take power from the engine and ‘transmit’ it to the wheels. Using it for anything else – in this case to stop the vehicle, will lead to stress it isn’t designed to handle.

Slotting into neutral at the light

Again, the fuel saved, which is none, is not worth the shift to neutral and then back to drive.

In case of an emergency, you’ll likely forget, and by the time you rev the engine erroneously and then slot into drive to make the getaway, it’ll be half a second too late.

Additionally, the engine revs higher in neutral, potentially negating the need if it’s in the name of saving fuel.

Changing to park and not engaging the handbrake

A no-no. The gearbox, again, is not a brake. Placing the load of the vehicle on the r=transmission in park will eventually lead to expensive repairs.

Always engage the handbrake. Placing the load of the vehicle on the
r transmission in park will eventually lead to expensive repairs.

Ultimately, read the owner’s manual.