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#1 27-08-07 22:05:05

black cargo
Member
Registered: 27-08-07
Posts: 5

1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Mmkay.

My instructor tells me that when I'm waiting in traffic at the head of the queue, I should have the car in 1st gear, foot down on the clutch, handbrake on. My parents both think he's talking crap, and say I should have the car in neutral, feet off all pedals, handbrake on. (My mum says so because she thinks this is safer (though with the handbrake on, the car can't move anywhere); my dad says so because he reckons the instructor's method will wear out the clutch.)

My dad intends to go out to speak to the instructor next time I've got a lesson, most likely to argue over points like this that he's unswayably convinced he's right about, and might get me a new instructor if he isn't happy. (This is my second instructor; the first one stopped teaching suddenly after I'd been with him for four lessons. I really don't want to have to keep skipping about from instructor to instructor like this.)

So who's right? My instructor or my folks? Or are both acceptable?

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27-08-07 22:05:05

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Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?




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#2 27-08-07 23:08:31

Disky
Verified Member
From: Central Scotland
Registered: 10-03-05
Posts: 1,333
Website

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

well,, are your parents qualified instructors that currently teach people how to drive safely ?

Or

Just concerned parents that learned to drive in "the good ole days"



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#3 27-08-07 23:23:32

black cargo
Member
Registered: 27-08-07
Posts: 5

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Of course that's something I pointed out immediately, but Dad was unphased.  tongue He's convinced that anyone at all can advertise themselves as a driving instructor, provided they have a driving license, so there's no reason to completely trust what this instructor tells me.

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#4 27-08-07 23:44:51

Disky
Verified Member
From: Central Scotland
Registered: 10-03-05
Posts: 1,333
Website

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

He's convinced that anyone at all can advertise themselves as a driving instructor, provided they have a driving license,

Oh deffo not,, you cant say your an ADi unless you have taken and passed all qualifying tests.

I currently teach people to drive, but i use a pink licence, which is trainee, and clearly states that, the licence MUST be displayed at all times in the front window of the car that is being used for tuition.

If in any doubt, ask your ADI for his ADI number, theywill be more than happy that you are checking that they are fully qualified, its a hard slog to get there, so they will not mind that your taking them seriously.

It sounds like your dad wants to be whatever it takes and may believe that no one will be good enough, ask him what he would think if someone kept challenging him in his own line of work, and told his clients that he was wrong in what he does smile

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but opinions need to be qualified and quantified to be recognosed and not speculated on

Just food for thought...

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#5 28-08-07 00:09:32

binty1968
Verified Member
From: Hants/Surrey border
Registered: 22-02-06
Posts: 1,691
Website

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Think about it....ur in neutral...lights change....how long does it take u to get into first, get to bite, check those mirrors and move off?

ur in first gear with clutch down....lights change...and uve got one less thing to do  big_smile

my point being....as a driver who has been driving for over 20yrs, i wdnt sit at lights at head of queue in neutral, (unless i knew i was going to be there for a long time)  so i dont teach my pupils to do it....wen the lights change u want to go...if ur messin about finding gears it takes up precious time...think about how long some lights stay on green...not very long & if ur holding up traffic behind, u can get flustered, maybe even stall and more hold ups/irate drivers (especially in ur instructors car as ppl have very little patience wen they see a learner which annoys me but thats another story). When a driver is more experienced then if they where about 5 cars back & they know they will be sat for a while then ok in neutral to rest foot for a while then back on clutch.

Soooooooo without even knowing ur ADI...id trust his judgement, hes qualified, and not just anyone can get that green instructor badge....believe u me its a longggggggg intensive qualifying process.

Best advice id give is....listen to ur instructor and take his knowledge on board and learn from it..... re dad: say...yer ok dad to keep him happy, last thing u want is dad 'v' ADI  neutral Just bear in mind lots of pupils get conflicting advice from parents as things have changed alot since us oldies learnt to drive  big_smile

Just to add....re clutch wearing...if uve got clutch at bite for longer than needed then yes this will add wear to it...but if its down it wont (as far as im aware  :? )

Good Luck!

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#6 28-08-07 00:45:48

kev elliott
Guest

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Mmkay.

My instructor tells me that when I'm waiting in traffic at the head of the queue, I should have the car in 1st gear, foot down on the clutch, handbrake on. My parents both think he's talking crap, and say I should have the car in neutral, feet off all pedals, handbrake on. (My mum says so because she thinks this is safer (though with the handbrake on, the car can't move anywhere); my dad says so because he reckons the instructor's method will wear out the clutch.)


So who's right? My instructor or my folks? Or are both acceptable?

Black Cargo,
This is one of those questions where each one has got the right answer depending on the situation and your experience.
I will try to explain my reasonig below and see if that helps you


Taking the way your ADI is teaching you

Handbrake on, Clutch down, in First

Advantages
-The car is in a known state and you do not have move your hands or feet as the lights change
-Allows you to concentrtae on the traffic lights as you know the car is ready to move.
-Handbrake is ON so car is secured depending on the efficiency of the handbrake and how firmly you have applied it.
-Small incremental steps that allow you to become more confident and competent at the skill involved as you will see the link between the different elements. 
Disadvantages
-1st gear is engaged if for any reason your foot slipped off the clutch the car may move if the handbrake is not firmly applied -however depending on vehicle the result is more likely to be a stall.

-Increased wear on thrust bearing of clutch which is the bit of the clutch that is used when the clutch pedal is pushed down, however I suspect that your instructor is keeping this to a minimum and may well get you to reduce it still further as your skills increase. 


Parents

Handbrake on, feeet off pedals, in nuetral
Advantages
- Minimal wear on clutch
- Marginal increase in safety in well maintained vehcle with efficient braking system
- If you can move off perfectly each time then this is the ideal way

Disadvantages
- Compresses the time available for you to prepare the car to unrealistic levels at your current skill
- Increases the risk of stalling as you are moving off due to rushed use of clutch and gear selection
- Delays in moving off can led to delays to drivers behind you
-Large step to make from moving off from the side of the road or a junction where you can choose your time to moving off from a controlled crossing where you have a limited window to get the car moving.


Contrast the tasks you have do with the 2 methods and consider which one will give you the better learning environment where you can understand what is happening and the sequence it needs to happen in

ADI - A possible sequence of events (other instructors may have variations)

-Confirm Handbrake on
-Clutch down, select 1st
-Identify/watch the lights you should be looking at
-Observe what is going on to front, sides and rear
-See Amber light come on, hand to handbrake 
-Find bite
-Release handbrake
-Move off   


Parents
Confirm handbrake is on, select nuetral
Rest feet
Identify/watch  traffic lights you need to look at
Amber light comes on
move feet to pedals
Move hand from steering wheel to gear lever to select first (both hands should be kept on the steering wheel when stationary to give you maximum steering control in the event of a rear end shunt)
Hand to handbrake, find bite
Release handbrake
Move off 


I know which one I would prefer to use until I was able to select gears, move feet and find the biting point confidently  with no need for any help from the instructor. Once you are at the stage where the car control skills are second nature then the perception elements start to be developed where you start to use clues as to what is happening and when you will be able to move - this naturaly reduces the time you spend with the clutch down.

Hope this helps         

#7 28-08-07 01:07:42

black cargo
Member
Registered: 27-08-07
Posts: 5

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Thank you! Particularly for your post Kev.


It seems to me as if it's boiling down to the driver's personal preference.  :?

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#8 28-08-07 02:41:06

AndyBerry
Guest

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Thank you! Particularly for your post Kev.


It seems to me as if it's boiling down to the driver's personal preference.  :?

Yep... also consider what you know about the junction ahead - do you know the sequence of the traffic lights? As you become more confident and experienced in your driving, you will begin to remember some light sequences, meaning you can leave the car in neutral if you know you will be waiting a couple of minutes for the sequence to go around.
Say for example it's a cross roads and each entrance to the junction change separately to allow for right turners, if your lights change to red on approach, it's a pretty safe bet you'll have to wait a minute or two while the lights go round the sequence. If you know that, put the car in neutral while the other roads go, but when the one before you goes, get the car into 1st so you are ready to go again.

Andy

#9 28-08-07 09:55:47

black cargo
Member
Registered: 27-08-07
Posts: 5

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Thanks. smile


Anyhow I think my dad's more concerned about me wearing out the clutch than me learning to drive confidently. Can anyone with technical knowledge explain to me what kind of wear there would be on the clutch and its components from keeping the clutch down at long pauses? I would have thought that pressing it down, going into neutral, lifting it, waiting, pressing it down again, going into first, and lifting it, would cause more wear than pressing it down, going into first, waiting, and lifting it.

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#10 28-08-07 10:02:21

Dimmy
Guest

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Clutch wear occurs when the clutch plates are in contact but not fully binding. (Clutch slip). This is the bite range.
NO contact between the plates cannot cause ANY wear at all as the clutch plates are apart and fully seperated.  When the clutch is fully down the plates are furthest apart and wear CANNOT occur.

Your fathers understanding is incorrect.

#11 28-08-07 10:15:10

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

No offence, but your dad sounds like an idiot. If he knows so much, why doesn't he become a driving instructor and teach you himself? You should suggest that to him.

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#12 28-08-07 12:58:11

Dimmy
Guest

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

No offence, but your dad sounds like an idiot.

With respect, just because someone is not aware of the correct procedure or has a lack of knowledge that does not mean they are an idiot, just in need of educating or advising.
The ADI in question may be able to assist the father in this respect.


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#13 28-08-07 13:11:42

EKAL
Verified Member
From: East Kilbride
Registered: 23-04-06
Posts: 1,050
Website

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

its one of "they" topics that parents love to stick their nose into :evil:, just like changing down the gears 5-4-3-2-1, if my pupil is 3rd or more in the Q I tell them to select neutral and rest their feet, but at the same time scan the crossing/junction for any other information that may assist them in determining when to select 1st, if there is a filter on one of the other junctions, I'll tell them to glance at that now and again(if visable), when that changes to amber, we select 1st, if the ped phase comes on next we can either stay as is, or change back to neutral.

On the topic of first in the Q, YES select 1st with clutch fully depressed and scan as much of the crossing as you can.


DSA ADI, DSA Fleet, RoADAR Diploma, RoADAR Gold.
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#14 28-08-07 14:15:53

john55
Verified Member
From: Stirling
Registered: 25-05-06
Posts: 227

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Blackcargo, why is your Dad so worried about you burning out the clutch. is your ADI teaching you in Dad's car, or are you gonna be driving your Dad's car when you pass your test? either way there's probably no need for Dad to worry as the good habits you're learning now (like not sitting at traffic lights with the clutch at the biting point) will more than likely stay with you after you pass your test. 


If you can't do it safely don't do it at all

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#15 28-08-07 14:36:10

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,697
Website

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Black cargo I strongly doubt your dad's an idiot even if it seems that way to some and I'm sure he doesn't deliberately put mechanical wear ahead of your confidence (and safety) - after all he IS your dad!

I'd bet I'm the same general age as your dad probably older, these days things fall off ME not my training cars. For example my manly bulging chest muscles have dropped and now reside round my abdomen (my theory anyway).

When I learnt to drive things were different. For a start cars were heavier and less reliable, the brakes weren't as efficient and reliable thus we used gears to slow instead (no block changes those days!) Cars themselves were more expensive to buy and it was important to avoid clutch wear (as it it still is today). Traffic was thinner and slower moving, "not holding up the traffic flow" was usually not a high priority.
On my first driving test (1966  in Adelaide, South Australia) the constable conducting the test was more interested in the finer points of my car control (e.g. smooth gear changes, heel/toe techniques, no rollback on the hill start etc) that my observation techniques and my hazard perception/response. Things have changed since!

I teach my students to always prepare to move off ASAP if first in line at lights or busy intersections, and if they are a novice driver this means leaving it in gear and being ready to find the friction point (our term for the biting point) when about to move forward.

After novice drivers build up their confidence it might be OK for them to "rest" in neutral but when learning, being ready to go is the only way to avoid hold ups and subsequent road rage from behind.

As Dimmy says... holding the clutch pedal down cannot add wear to the clutch plates. Sure it's a load on thrust bearings but they can take it unlike clutch plates which are a friction device and have to absorb excess engine power not being used for vehicle motion.
This means that holding the friction (sorry, biting) point at idle revs does not significantly increase clutch wear if done for a short time, modern clutches can take it!
Much different when holding the biting point with added power such as on a hill start, the clutch absorbs the excess power which is rapidly turned into excess wear and heat - which can be sometimes detected in the form of an expensive burning odour.

PS: God wouldn't have given us clutches if He didn't mean us to slip them when necessary.
PPS: On the same note, if God had meant us to fly, He would have given us airline tickets.
PPPS: On a further note, if God had meant a certain official in the local instructor's association to fly, He would have given her a broom.
PPPPS:  Too many PS's

Going to bed now!


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#16 28-08-07 20:19:28

Van Man
Verified Member
From: Burton upon Trent
Registered: 12-01-06
Posts: 78

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Got to go with Zipper and Ekal,the wear on the clutch will be minimal, what about the impatient geezer behind who might give you a nudge from behind. It does happen, and that will cost more in time and money. Get the care prepared to go when at the front of the que. As experience grows so will your finesse and when you have passed your test you can figure a lot of these things out your self and why not join the local IAM group, or better still get your dad to join now! He would see things in a differant light then


DON'T GET ME STARTED.
I'm not doing it wrong,Its just another way of doing it right!
IAM observer

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#17 29-08-07 20:38:17

black cargo
Member
Registered: 27-08-07
Posts: 5

Re: 1st gear or neutral while waiting?

Dad relented. Thanks for all the info and advice, folks.  big_smile

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