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Learn the advanced skills for driving a manual car in traffic.


How To Drive A Manual Car in Traffic :: Lesson #4


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Hi there Smart Drivers.

Rick with Smart Drive Test, talking to you today about: How to drive a manual transmission - lesson four.

In lesson #1, we learned where the friction point was, or the biting point on the clutch was, as you bring it out, and the two plates come together and engage.

We gave you exercises for that.

In lesson 2, we combined the clutch with the throttle, and the clutch with the brake, and showed you how to do that.

And then in lesson 3, after getting comfortable with the friction point, and being able to move the vehicle forward, in first and reverse, which are your two toughest gears in a manual transmission.

In lesson 3, we actually got out, and started to shift some gears, in a quiet residential area, where you could work on just shifting the gears.

So today, what we're going to do in Lesson four: We're actually going to get out into traffic, and we're going to drive around, and we're going to show you how to shift in traffic.

Now I had a comment from Val S.

Val S. moved from British Columbia here, to the Netherlands, and as I've commented before in Europe, 85% of people drive manual transmissions, unlike North America, where 85% of people drive automatic transmissions.

In Europe it's reverse.

So Val S. is learning how to drive manual transmission, and is looking forward to Lesson four, because she was having some challenges getting the vehicle downshifted, when she was going around corners.

She was finding that she was already into the corner before she was able to get the transmission downshifted.

Now, we're going to show you today how to shift down, before you actually start going around a corner.

Because you want to be in the correct gear, before you go around the corner.

So that's one of the things we're going to do; The other thing we're going to show you how to do, is how to shift in traffic, how to manage your speed, how to control the speed of the vehicle so that you can reduce the amount of shifting.

And then we're going to show you how to get the vehicle downshifted, for the purposes of going around a corner, not for slowing down, just for getting the correct gear for going around the corner.

So stick around, we'll be right back with that information.

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Hi there Smart Drivers, welcome back.

Rick with Smart Drive Test, talking to you today about: How to drive a manual transmission, lesson 4.

And on the hood of the truck there is Tuk the Truck.

Say hi, Tuk! Tuk's job is to show you the center of the hood.

Through the roundabout, in second gear, slow down.

And out of the roundabout, and shifting to third, and all the way off the clutch, before you step on the throttle.

We're going to turn right at the traffic lights, approximately one half block before the intersection.

And we shift down to second, shoulder check, cross the bicycle lane, into the turning lane.

Preparation for the light to go green, but the light did not go green, so we come to a complete stop at the stop line.

Shoulder check, move forward, nobody there, shoulder check again.

Around the corner, shift to second.

Up to third, shoulder check, shoulder check again.

Turning left at the traffic lights.

Just leave it in third gear.

Yes, I'm in third gear.

We come to a complete stop at the traffic light.

Push the clutch in when the tachometer drops to a thousand rpm, complete stop.

Out of third, back to first gear.

And we wait.

And there's nobody behind us, so we're watching the traffic behind us.

So out to the friction point, throttle, up to second.

Turning the corner, and accelerate to third gear.

Fourth gear.

And again, we got to watch our speed when we go to fourth, because fourth likes to go up to 60 kilometers an hour.

So we watch our speed, scanning the railway crossing.

Turning right.

Slowing, shifting to second.

Off the pedals, around the corner, and throttle, and up to third.

And preparing to turn right, shoulder check, moving the vehicle to the right, stopping before the stop line.

Thousand rpm, push the clutch in, and brake.

Back to first gear, out to the friction point, a little bit of throttle, moving forward.

Push the clutch in, out on the clutch, throttle.

And we're not going to shift, because we gotta stop at the railway crossing.

Complete stop, in on the clutch, brake, out to the friction point, a little bit of throttle, and scanning the intersection, and we proceed.

And you can't shift over railway crossings, in a manual transmission, the whole vehicle, all the tires have to be over the railway crossing, before you can shift.

So we're in third gear, the stop is right here, we're going to turn the left at the stop sign.

And we have to come to a complete stop, and we're just leaving it in third-gear.

Stop before the stop line.

Back to first gear, after we come to a complete stop.

Lots of traffic on our right here, so I'm not moving forward, just yet, until i can see that it's way is clear.

Friction point, a little bit of throttle, moving forward.

And I could have gone, but I hesitated, so we waited for the vehicle, if you're in the least bit doubt on a gap.

So friction point, throttle, and out on the clutch.

Second gear, left turn, third gear, off the throttle, into the turning lane, shoulder check.

Thousand rpm, push the clutch in, and brake to a stop.

Complete stop.

Back to first gear, moving forward, I've got the gap, meeting the gap.

Shift to second, turning, shoulder checking.

Up to third gear.

And again, we have to watch that fourth gear, because it likes to go up to 60.

So we're already doing 50, so we just shift to fourth gear, and then just don't even give it any throttle, just kind of feather the throttle a little bit.

Scan the intersection here, no vehicles.

Maintaining our speed.

Scanning the railway crossing.

Moving out of the bumps, because we had a hard winter here, we've got lots of potholes after the winter.

And as well, you will notice that there isn't a whole lot of traffic today.

The reason there isn't any traffic is, yes, because on Easter Sunday we are shooting a video, prior to going out to the Big easter egg hunt.

So if you're thinking about starting a YouTube channel, this is what you're doing on the holidays: Shooting a video.

So we came to a complete stop, we put the vehicle back into first gear.

The traffic on the other side, you can see, is turning, our light is just about to turn green.

Out to the friction point, off the brake, on the throttle, and control the clutch out.

Shoulder check, into the inside lane, right signal on right away, shift to third.

Shoulder check, and moving across, after the intersection, there was an intersection there, you want to do it after the intersection if possible.

And again, we're watching our speed, into fourth gear.

We got a red light, we're just holding back here, because no point accelerating up to the red light, and shifting gears, we don't want to work any harder than we have to.

So the light's gone green, and we just maintain our 50 kilometers an hour, 30 miles an hour, for driving a manual transmission.

We have another red light up there, and again we're not hurrying for that red light either.

We're just letting off the throttle, we're still in fourth gear, and we're at 1500 rpm.

And again, it's in fourth gear, we can just feather the throttle here, and it will take off again.

This is just a small, 4-cylinder, 2 litre petrol engine, and it'll just take off again, you don't even have to shift down.

One of the challenges that new drivers have, is a lot of times they want to shift too much, and they don't kind of get used to the motor.

So you kind of get used to the motor, and if you work the throttle, you want to work the throttle a lot more, instead of shifting gears.

So we're going to do right, mirror, signal, shoulder check.

And again, we're going to slow down to a thousand rpm, we're going to shift right down to second gear, we're going to skip to second.

Stop before the crosswalk, because we can see back to first, scanning the crosswalk, and we proceed.

Up to second gear right away, and all the way out on the clutch.


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After first gear, all the way out on the clutch, before you step on the throttle.

That will prolong the life of your clutch.

And if you're having difficulty getting your gear before the turn, start shifting down sooner.

Mirror, signal, shoulder check, in on the clutch, at a thousand rpm.

Second gear, we didn't come to a complete stop, so I shifted down to second gear there, instead of going to first.

As long as the vehicle is moving, you can shift down to second gear, and the vehicle will take off.

Up to third.

Third gear.

And again, this is a high pedestrian area, high pedestrian traffic, there's a lot of seniors housing in the area right here.

And if you have those high pedestrian areas, you are justified in slowing down, and not doing the full speed limit of 50 kilometers an hour.

So we're going to turn right here at the intersection, moving into the turning lane.

Off the throttle, down to a thousand rpm, in with the clutch and come to a complete stop.

Back to first gear from third, out to the friction point, on the throttle.

Feather the clutch, in with the clutch, off.

And the way is clear, and we proceed.

Second gear.

Third gear.

And we are going to turn left here.

And we have pedestrians, so we're going to slow down, and come to a complete stop.

Shift back to first, out to the friction point.

And I stalled it.

That's embarrassing.

It happens! It happens.

So you saw, I just got it going again.

Second gear, third gear.

And the light has turned to red here, we come to complete stop, brake.

Complete stop, back to first, scan the intersection.

Friction point, throttle, control the clutch, second gear.

Contrary to some peoples belief that you can't shift gears through an intersection, you have to be able to shift gears through an intersection.

If you don't shift gears through an intersection, you're not going to get the vehicle going very fast.

And you will not succeed on your road test, because examiners want to see you getting up to speed, as quickly as possible, up to the posted speed limit, without actually exceeding the speed limit.

So, but you do have to expediant in getting the vehicle up to the posted speed limit, as quickly as possible.

Ok, coming up to the intersection, we're in fourth gear.

Coming to a stop, bringing the tachometer down to a thousand RPM.

Complete stop.

And back to first.

We got a gap, straight forward, shift to second.

Into the lane.

And we're going to stay in this lane, because we're turning left up here.

Up to third.

50 kilometers an hour, and fourth gear.

Nice and easy on the throttle, because we want to maintain 50 kilometers an hour.

And you'll have to figure that out in your own vehicle, about how fast it goes in third and fourth, to maintain 50 kilometers an hour, 30 miles an hour in the city.

Okay, we have a green light, we're going to come up, and put the front tires on the front crosswalk line.

That way, we're commited to the intersection, but we're not in the intersection.

Ok, watching the light.

Meeting the gap, second, and turning the corner.

Up to third gear, and we're accelerating more, because we are going uphill, so we need some more rpms to shift the gear, and it will take that gear.

We are coming up to a roundabout, we're going to turn right at the roundabout.

Right signal.

We're slowing down, and we're just letting the hill allow us to slow down.

There's a car coming into the roundabout, so we are going to shift down to second, we are going to slow down.

Second gear, come almost to a complete stop in second gear, as long as the vehicle is still moving.

Up to third gear, all the way off the clutch, step on the throttle.

And we are going to go left at this roundabout.

Signal on, there's a car coming into the roundabout.

We shift down to second, we don't have to stop, we just slow down, and go in behind that vehicle.

We're going all the way left.

And again, if you want to know more about roundabouts, look at the video on roundabouts, I'll put a card up in the corner for you on roundabouts, and that will show you how to do roundabouts.

So we shifted up to third.

And again we're going uphill, and we're speeding here, the limit's 50.

So we just want to leave it in third, because we're on a hill here, we have to accelerate too much for fourth.

So you'll have to, like I said, you'll have to determine that in your own vehicle, because every vehicle will be slightly different, it's not going to be the same "third and fourth" as it is in this one.

So, 50 kilometers an hour, turning right at the intersection, letting this vehicle slow down by itself.

Shifting down to second, shoulder checking, and around the corner.

And we are in the 30 kilometer an hour zone, so we just go nice and easy through the 30 kilometer an hour zone.

And that's how you shift in traffic at traffic lights.


Quick review of driving manual transmission in traffic: Make sure you look at lessons one through three, before you start driving around in traffic.

Lesson one is finding the friction point, or the biting point, where the two clutch plates come together, get friction, enough to grab, and the vehicle starts to move forward.

We teach you how to find that in the vehicle.

Exercises to do that.

And to master first and reverse, those are your two toughest gears.

In the second lesson, we went over combining the clutch with the throttle, and the clutch with the brake.

And then in the third lesson, we showed you how to drive around a quiet residential area, and shift gears: First, second, third and fourth.

And today, we actually went out in traffic, and we're showing you how to do turns, and how to shift the transmission for turns.

And for most passenger vehicles, petrol engines, and diesel engines, you're going to be in second gear to go around the corner.

Now, you have to get down to second gear before you get to the corner.

And, as we said, if you're making the transition from an automatic transmission to a manual transmission, you're going to find you can't come right up on the corner and then try and downshift, because you need a bit of time to be able to downshift.

So a block, to a block and a half before the turn that you want to make, you want to get your gear, which is second gear, and then sort of creep up to the corner, if you're that far away that you need to do that.

Probably in the beginning, when you're not fluid at it, or efficient it's going to take you a little bit longer, so you need to start sooner downshifting, so that when you get to the corner, you've got time to be able to do those exercises, and get around the corner.

So, as well, just know how fast it is, play around with the different speeds, in the different gears, and know how fast it is.

As you saw in the video today, when I was in fourth gear, if I wasn't watching what I was doing, I was well above 30 miles an hour, 50 kilometers an hour, I was well into 60 kilometers an hour, 40 miles an hour, and if you're on a road test you can't do that.

So know that third is going to be your best gear for 50, and if you go to fourth for 50 kilometers an hour, you're going to have to really feather the throttle, and just get a sense of how fast it goes in every gear, that's the other purpose of driving around in traffic.

And by this point, you should be fairly efficient with driving the manual transmission, and be fairly comfortable.

In the next lesson, we're going to go over hill starts, that'll be lesson number five.

And then in lesson number six, we'll show you some advanced techniques of being able to skip gears, and those types of things.

Question for the Smart Drivers:

Do you have any tips for driving a manual transmission in traffic?

Leave a comment down in the comment section there, all of that helps out the new drivers learning how to drive a manual transmission.

I'm Rick with Smart Drive Test.

Thanks very much for watching.

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Have a great day, bye now.


And we're hoping that the cameras all work today! Because we have had some technical difficulties of getting cameras to work.


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