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How to Change Gears?

Welcome to 4 Driving Lessons Colchester and Clacton, where we make learning to drive as easy as 1-2-3-4!


One of the first skills you'll need to master is changing gears. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Whether you're taking lessons in Colchester, Clacton or anywhere in the UK, this guide is for you.

Gear Change in Clacton and Colchester
Gear Shifting in Colchester and Clacton

Changing Gears: The Basics

  1. Ease Off the Gas: Lift your foot off the accelerator.

  2. Press Down the Clutch: Use your other foot to press down the clutch pedal.

  3. Shift the Gear: Take your left hand off the steering wheel and move the gear stick to the new position.

  4. Hand Back on Wheel: Put your left hand back on the steering wheel.

  5. Release Clutch, Press Gas: Slowly let go of the clutch while gently pressing the accelerator.

  6. DON'T LOOK and DON'T RUSH! 

Safety Tip:

Always keep your eyes on the road. If you're driving at 60 mph and look away for just one second, you'll travel about 27 metres. That's a lot of room for things to go wrong, so always focus on the road ahead.

Gears Explained: Colchester to Clacton Driving Lessons Edition

  • Low Gears (1 and 2): Perfect for starting off and for slow city driving, like in the busy streets of Colchester. Driving up inclines or help controling speed going downhills.

  • 3rd Gear is perfect for driving along at 20mph to 30mph.

  • High Gears (4 and 5): Ideal for faster speeds, perhaps when you're cruising along the A133 towards Clacton.

Another great way to to help you understand the gears and when to change up or down.

  • 1st Gear, Normal driving up to 10mph *Hard acceleration up to 20mph

  • 2nd Gear, Normal driving up to 20mph *Hard acceleration up to 35-40mph

  • 3rd Gear, Normal driving up to 30mph *Hard acceleration up to 45-50mph

  • 4th Gear and 5th, Normal driving up from 40mph

  •  4th Gear *Hard acceleration to 55/60mph

*Hard acceleration is when entering a high speed road such as a dual carriageway 

So in normal driving conditions you would try to remember 10, 20, 30 40 and associate that with 1st(10) 2nd(20) 3rd(30) and 4th(40)

Your Car will help you by telling you.

Consider your car as a subtle communicator on your driving adventures. It won't engage in small talk or discuss the latest news, but it will certainly give you hints when it's time to change gears. When you're pushing the pedal a bit too eagerly, the engine will raise its 'voice,' urging you to shift up a gear.

Conversely, if your car starts making unusual noises—spluttering, chugging, and refusing to accelerate—that's its way of nudging you. 'Hey, I could use a little help here; how about dropping down a gear to give me a boost?

What to Expect in Your Driving Test.

At 4 Driving Lessons Clacton and Colchester, we prepare you for every aspect of your driving test, including:

  • Picking the right gear for your speed and the road conditions.

  • Changing gears smoothly.

  • Keeping your hand on the steering wheel when not changing gears.

Extra Tips for Our Students

  • Block Changing: You can skip gears when needed. This is especially useful when transitioning from urban to rural roads or vice versa.

  • Downshifting: If you need to speed up quickly, like for overtaking, switch to a lower gear for more power.

  • Engine Braking: When you lift your foot off the gas, the car starts to slow down automatically. This is useful when approaching stop signs or traffic lights.

Gear Selection: Local Insights

  • First Gear: For starting off, just to go or tight maneuvering spots.

  • Second Gear: For slower speeds, like navigating through Clacton's scenic routes.

  • Third Gear: Useful for cruising along the seafront.

  • Fourth Gear: For regular driving conditions.

  • Fifth Gear: Ideal for travelling on open roads between Colchester and Clacton.

  • Reverse: For going backward, Well Duh! obviously. :)

  • Neutral: ONLY Use when the car is stopped.

During your driving test, we'll ensure you're well-prepared to demonstrate your gear-changing skills, among other driving abilities.

And there you have it! A beginner's guide to changing gears, brought to you by "4 Driving Lessons Colchester, Clacton and Tendring." Ready to get behind the wheel? Contact us to book your lessons today!

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