How to drive a manual car

The Basics of starting off… Start the Car!

There are checks and adjustments you should make before starting the engine or moving off. Ensuring the handbrake is on, adjusting your seating and mirrors. Before pulling away you should also ensure it is safe to do so by all round observations. These will be covered in other articles.

Car Keys

1. Put the clutch pedal down (you may need to do this to start the car’s engine)

Clutch Down

2. Move the gear stick into first gear

Gear Stick


3. Use your right foot to press down on the accelerator gently to increase the engine’s revs very slightly

Gas (or accelerator)


4. Slowly lift the clutch pedal using your left foot until it starts to vibrate gently

This vibration is known as the car’s “bite point” – this is where the clutch plates start to come together. (The car may also dip slightly)


6. Remove the handbrake and the car should start to move slowly


Car Handbrake

7. Increase the revs while slowly raising your foot off the clutch until you are moving forward with only the use of the accelerator pedal

Remember – if you’re too quick lifting your foot off the clutch, or don’t give it enough revs, the car will stall: that’s where the engine cuts out and the red lights glow on the dashboard. ;-(

 If you stall apply the brakes/handbrake, keep the clutch down, (return the gear stick to neutral if needed), restart the engine and begin the process again.

Be Safe and give us a call if you want to know more. Once the first steps are mastered, things do become easier.

Devon Driver & Rider Training


Information to help Learner Drivers

Learn to Drive

Taking the First steps in to driving these links may help:

These links can give you some great information and what to expect when you are ready for your test.

Highway code facebook page

Copy of the Highway Code

Practice Theory:

Have a go at a practice theory test

Practical Test:

See other DVSA Information videos

Automatic in more ways than one

i30 automatic driving lessons

Learn to drive all over again

Moving from a manual car to an automatic car could on the outside seem easy. Not so, as we have discovered when getting a new automatic car for Devon Driver and Rider Training. We chose the Hyundai i30 from Torbay Hyundai.

The next generation of magical electronics has transformed newer cars in to playgrounds. They now have some very neat gadgets, but that means a manual big enough that you need a wheelbarrow to carry it.

  • Cruise control has been around for some time but cruise control that allows you to pick the distance between you and a vehicle in front (Intelligent cruise control!)
  • Lane Keep Assist. This not only tells you if you stray out of your lane with out indication; but there is a system that then (if switched on) guides you back in to the lane.
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking. This applies the brakes if it thinks it is going to hit something ahead.
  • Blind Spot Detection and Cross Traffic Alert has you covered if things are moving around you.
  • Auto Hold hand-brakes which release when the car is driven under power. You thought Hill Hold Assist is as good as it got!

With some of these gadgets you might ask: is there any room for the driver?

All of these things are just aids. You trust them to help you and guide you, or give you information but… It makes sense you know how to use them.

If you are moving from manual car or even just upgrading your auto, contact us and see how we can help you get to the bottom of the new driving experience.

We can offer help with familiarisation as well as just and introduction to automatic cars.

Give us a call!

Devon Driver and Rider Training

Blue Lights

Emergency Vehicle

What to do when an Emergency Vehicle is behind you.

As a experienced driver you can be unsure what to do when she hear sirens and see blue lights behind you. You know they need to get to their destination quickly. As a learner driver it can be especially worrying.
Blue Light Aware is a short video, produced on behalf of the emergency services. Their crews rely on the help of other road users when they’re on a ‘blue light’ journey.

By watching Blue Light Aware, you will better understand their needs, you will be reducing the risks you face, you will be contributing to a safer road environment and you might also be helping to save a life.

Please note, this video contains flash photography.

Emergency Vehicle what to do



Hazard Drill

What is the hazard drill?

The hazard drill in a crucial process that helps you deal with all real and potential road hazards in a precise and measured way:

  • Mirror(s)
  • Signal
  • Position
  • Speed / Gear
  • Look

Often known as Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre; it includes some essential elements on approach to a hazard.

When is it used?

When approaching an actual or potential hazard for which you may need to slow down, speed up or change direction.

Hazards can fall within three different categories:

  1. Static (Road layout ie roundabouts or junctions)
  2. Moving Hazards (Other Road Users)
  3. Environmental (Visibility, road surface, standing water etc)


The process helps you deal with most road hazards in a calm and systematic way.

  • By knowing what’s around you
  • Letting others know what you are going to do
  • Getting in to a good position so you don’t effect others or you make your movement easier
  • Being at the right speed and then gear for negotiating the hazard ( i.e. junction or roundabout)
  • Looking to make sure it is safe to go!

This leads to a calm safe drive as well as potentially helping with fuel economy.

Want to know more? Contact us

Acceleration Sense

Advanced Driving

Acceleration Sense (AS)

You can use the acceleration of the car or bike to help you negotiate road, traffic conditions and hazards. This doesn’t mean always accelerating or picking up speed.

Ask yourself:

When approaching vehicles moving slower than me, do I always need to brake?

With accurate use of the throttle you can reduce the amount of braking needed, if any, and reduce fuel costs as well as tyre wear.

Acceleration Sense requires several things:

  • Anticipation
  • Observation
  • Judgement of speed and distance
  • Understanding how your vehicle works

Your driving or riding will become smoother with good throttle control.

Try it!

Drive or ride a route you are familiar with and try to anticipate the potential hazards or traffic that would normally make you brake. Try and look so far ahead that you don’t accelerate in to those situations but ease off the throttle; either maintain a good speed or reduce it through normal tyre friction on the road or engine braking.

There is another result to this that makes you safer whilst driving or riding: You are more aware of potential hazards and probably keep a better following distance from vehicles.

Want to know more?

Contact us on Tel. 07878 543 413 or

Learn to anticipate hazards

Have a word with yourself!

Road Junction

Calm down!

We don’t always see eye to eye with other road users. As we are human just like they are.

Wrapped up in cages or dressed up with motorcycle helmet helps to remove some of the human element from our interactions.

Angry driver

We don’t see those other road users as real people


I found myself chuntering away under my breath inside my cosy motorcycle helmet, about another driver. He had done something that must have been the equivalent of slapping me in the face, because I was not happy.

I think all he had done was braked suddenly, realising he was about to miss his turning, indicated and turned quickly. This caused me to brake hard as well.

So was I angry at the other driver or myself for not seeing it coming and being further back? Probably a bit of both.

I realised I was now concentrating on the wrong thing. I was concentrating on the other driver and not the road ahead.

I found myself saying “Have a word with yourself and wind your neck in. Get on with riding”

So a few suggestions to help keep calm when riding or driving:

  • Calm yourself
    • Concentrate on what’s in front of you. Find something to enjoy the drive or ride (even if its only that you aren’t soaked by rain!)
  • Shrug your shoulders or try to physically release tension (I know, not so easy on a bike)
  • Try and think positively (at least that driver has turned of and will no longer bother me)
  • Try singing to yourself! (Proper music might be better but don’t let it distract you from driving or riding.)
  • Don’t dwell on the past but maybe after your journey evaluate your drive / ride.

Smug advanced driver

You could always do some advanced driver or rider training to help you develop your skills?


#driving #learnerdriver #ridertraining #advancedrider #motorcycle



Time & Space

Junction Hazard Procedure


What is a hazard: In driving terms it is something that might make you slow, stop, speed up or adjust your course.

Static, Moving, Environmental (and you the driver!)

Are you safe to drive? Are you safe to drive?

Are you ill, drunk, or on medication that may affect your driving?

Had enough sleep, do you have a good attitude (not upset or angry)?

Are you fed and watered?

Static Hazards

These are obstacles in your path such as junctions, parked cars, road surface or street furniture (i.e. traffic calming)

Static Hazards

Moving Hazards

These are things such as other vehicles, cyclist, motorcycles, horses, Persons directing traffic…

When you recognise these potential hazards you must decide what to do and how this might affect other road users.


Time and Space

Learning to identify hazards early will give you more time use that information, decide what to do and act on it.

  • Scan the road ahead. Don’t just look at your bonnet or front wheel!
  • Check your mirrors regularly to understand what is around and behind you.
  • Watch for visual clues to a potential danger or hazard (Visual Links)

Look around over, under and through objects to get a head start on identifying potential hazards. Observation & Anticipation.

Remember: Speed Limits are just that, limits not targets!

If you can’t give yourself space then give yourself time.

If potential hazards are close by i.e. parked cars on your side of the road, and you are out of your normal road position to pass those cars, with oncoming traffic… assuming you had enough space to start with, slow things down. Give yourself time to react to changing events. If you don’t have enough room then better planning is needed!

Observation & Anticipation –

Time and / or space: If you can’t have one have the other but both is better.

Junction Hazard Procedure

We Will Get You Through It


Roundabouts don’t need to be confusing

Like most things in life, preparation helps. If you are prepared before you get there, it’s mostly plain sailing. PLAN!

I say mostly because not everyone else plans!

Top Tips when approaching a roundabout, especially larger and more complicated ones.

  • Read the signs.
    • They normally give you a big clue as to which way you need to go. At least they tell you how many exits and what the road numbers are. They also give you information on the placed you would be heading towards.


  • Look at the ground.
    • The road, normally on the multi-laned roundabouts, will have markings telling you which lane to go in for your exit or destination.


  • Follow the road.
    • If there are multiple lanes they are normally marked around the round about. Follow your lane. There will be a break at the exit or the lane will guide you off at your exit.
      • Watch for people who realise they are in the wrong lane.


  • Keep on target.
    • Stay in your lane as you go around. Generally you will be in the left lanes for turning left or going straight on. In the right lane for straight on or right. The signs and road marking will tell you.
      • If you find you are coming off at the wrong exit, it may be better to take that exit and turn around one safely off the roundabout.
      • Cutting back in to the roundabout when people think you are leaving could be asking for trouble!

Roundabout animation

If you are making a journey, sometimes within you preparation its worth looking at a map either online, paper-based or on a sat nav. This can give you a better idea of the road numbers and directions. It also can help by telling you what exits you may need.

BEWARE: Satellite Navigation doesn’t always tell you the truth! Use it with caution. It can be a great aid though (assuming your mapping is up to date)

Paper based and online methods can also be out of date if there have been recent changes to a road layout.


Come and have a session with us if you feel you need some practice or tips.

Good luck!

DDRT (Devon Driver and Rider Training)

Tel. 07878 543 413