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The Controls

Before you start to drive you should be able to reach and use each control easily and comfortably. There are four main types of controls:

  • Hand controls
  • Foot controls
  • Ancillary controls
  • Visual controls

The following section will explain each control in more depth

Hand controls

The Steering wheel

The steering wheel should normally be controlled with both hands, hold the steering wheel in either the ten to two or quarter to three position

How to use: Pull-Push method.

The Gear lever

Correct use of gears is important for safe and eco-friendly car control
Gears control the way the engine interacts with the driving wheels. Your choice of gear depends on the speed at which you are travelling.

How to use: Smoothly with palm more information on How to use Gears

The Hand Brake (parking brake)

The parking brake locks the back wheels when the car is standing still. Because it locks the wheels tight, you should never use the parking brake when the car is moving. If you do, the car will skid.

Apply the parking brake when:

Your car is parked
Your car stops in traffic long enough for you to be waiting, not pausing
Your car is the first one waiting at a railway or pedestrian crossing

How to use: Left hand by pressing the button in then release or apply hand brake.

Foot controls

The accelerator-gas pedal
The pedal on the right operated by right foot and controls the speed of the car. The gas pedal feeds fuel into the engine the more you press it, the more fuel goes to the engine, the higher the engine speed.

How to use: press it very lightly

The footbrake
The pedal in middle, operated by right foot only, operates on all four wheels, switches on rear brake lights. We use the footbrake to slow down or stop the car. Don't stamp on this pedal but start with light pressure, gradually press harder than reduce pressure just before stopping.

How to use: Gently and progressively

The clutch
The Pedal on the left is the clutch. It is operated with your left foot and it's used when moving off, changing gear and stop the car without stalling the engine. In a car we need a clutch because the engine spins all the time, but the car's wheels don't. In order for a car to stop without stalling the engine, the wheels need to be disconnected from the engine somehow. The clutch allows us to smoothly engage a spinning engine to a non-spinning transmission by controlling the slippage between them so in the simplest form the clutch is connection between the engine and gearbox.

How to use: Releases very slowly

Ancillary controls


The indicators
Tell other road users what you intend to do. Use them in good time to give others plenty of warning. In most cars, the indicator switch is usually on the left stalk behind your steering wheel. Push the stalk downwards to indicate a left movement; push it upwards to indicate a righ movement.

Shows how fast you are driving. There are two scales: the outer one with big numbers shows your speed in miles per hour; the inner one with smaller numbers shows your speed in kilometres per hour.

Windscreen washers and wipers
We use to keep the windscreen clear of rain, snow, spray. The windscreen control is usually on the right stalk behind the your steering wheel

  • One click will bring on the intermittent wipe
  • Two clicks will operate the normal speed wipers
  • The third click will operate the double speed wipers.

To wash the windscreen move the stalk either towards you or away from you, depending on the make and model of car. There will also be a control for the rear wiper and washer, if there is one fitted

The light switches are usually on a stalk or a separate switch on the dashboard.

Visual controls


How to properly adjust mirrors

These are a essential aid to your driving. Most cars have three mirrors: the main interior and to external mirrors (directional mirrors)
The interior should be adjusted so that you can see as much of the rear windscreen, the sides mirrors should be adjusted so you can just see the side of this car in the edge of the mirror closest to the car and so you can see the road behind at eye level.

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