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Operating the foot pedals of the vehicle (re-cap)
(a) The easiest pedal to explain would be the accelerator (gas pedal). This is the pedal furthest to the right side. You should always use your right foot to operate the accelerator. Simply put - you will use it to move off and to go faster. The faster you want to go, the more you step down on the accelerator pedal. When you want to slow down or stop, release the pressure on the pedal completely.
(b) Now lets look at the brake pedal. This is used to slow down the vehicle (reduce speed) as well as to stop the vehicle completely. You will also use your right foot for the brake pedal. This should already tell you that you are never supposed to accelerate and brake at the same time... To slow down simply take your foot off the accelerator and start pressing down GENTLY on the brake pedal. If you need to slow down more, press down a bit harder. If you have to stop, press down gradually until the vehicle comes to a stand still. It's good practice to start reducing speed, in order to stop, SOONER rather than right at the end. If you started braking too soon, simply take your foot off the brake pedal and accelerate a bit if needed before braking again.
(c) Now for the dreaded clutch pedal (not applicable to automatic vehicles). NB! You must use your LEFT foot to press down the clutch pedal. The function of the clutch pedal is to disengage the gears from the running engine. In other words, when you change gears you should first press down the clutch pedal and then select the gear. Before you stop you must press down the clutch pedal along with the foot brake to prevent the car from stalling (cutting out). In both these cases you have to press down the clutch pedal all the way to touch the floor board. At this point the clutch will be disengaged. So lets say you have to move off (I suggest trying this on a level road first to prevent you from rolling). Press the clutch pedal down all the way and select 1st gear with the gear lever. Now gently accelerate (to the point where you can hear the pitch of the engine changing slightly and maintain that position WITHOUT over accelerating - that would damage your engine severely!). Start bringing out the clutch pedal (upward) SLOWLY until the vehicle starts moving. This is what is referred to as "biting point". It's important that you keep the clutch at the biting point until your vehicle moves off evenly and then only release the rest of the clutch pedal until it's fully out. Remember to maintain the same level of acceleration. Most people completely neglect to accelerate at this point, which could also let the vehicle stall. Once you've moved off and driven for a bit, you'll hear from the engine's pitch that it's time to change gears, press the clutch down all the way again while taking the pressure completely off the accelerator i.o.w. exchange between clutch and accelerator. Select the next gear and start bringing out the clutch, at the same time start accelerating again. Well, that's the basics of using a clutch. It gets a bit more complicated when having to move off while using the handbrake, but we'll discuss that another time.
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