2. Gears


Having been introduced to the cockpit drill, hand/ foot controls and how to move off and stop in a straight line, you now need to learn how to make progress with gear changes.
  • Smooth gear changing is a skill that you definitely need to learn. 
  • You also need to look at the importance of mirrors and signals at the appropriate times.
Teaching strategy 
Your instructor will give you as much support as your last lesson…cockpit drill, hand/foot controls, moving off and stopping, giving you full talk through then reducing to either prompt or independent.
Lesson aims and objectives 
The aim of today’s lesson is to understand the palming method when changing gear, making  upward and downward gear changes in sequence and also making  upward and downward selective gear changes while maintaining a straight course (look well ahead whilst changing gear). On the drive to the training area your instructor will give you a talk about the use of M.S.M and when to use your mirrors and use of signals. 
Subject brief
During this lesson you will learn how to:-
  • Improve P.O.M, P.O.S.M and moving off and stopping.
  • Control your vehicle as it increases and decreasing speed. Making appropriate gear changes up and down. Understand block and selective gear changes.
Correct gear changes up and down will save fuel and appropriate gear changes down will give you better control of your vehicle.
An example - If you are climbing a steep hill in 5th gear you would change down to gears 3rd or 4th to prevent the vehicle from struggling and also prevent damage to the engine and gearbox. This means that you may sometimes miss out gears; this method is called selective or block gear changes.

There are also times when you might selectively change to a lower gear for better acceleration or for more pulling power followed by a change to 3rd or 4th gear when you have reached your intended cruising speed. This may be referred to as getaway driver mode. For example - Entering a slip road you may be in 2nd gear then go straight into 4th gear.

The basic gear changing rule is gears to go - brakes to slow.  When you want to slow down remember to use the foot brake not your clutch and gears. “It’s cheaper to replace brake pads than a clutch”.
Mirrors and use
Use of your mirrors is very important.
You should always check your mirrors before you :–
  • Signal.
  • Speed up and down.
  • Change direction.
When using your mirrors you have to be careful not to take your eyes off the road ahead for too long.
Use quick glances BUT DO NOT JUST MOVE YOUR EYES, remember you will steer the way you are looking, however this will improve quite quickly on your lessons. 

We look in our mirrors for the below information : – 
 Who’s behind you? 
 How close are they? 
 How fast are they travelling?  
 Are they signalling to overtake you? 
 If they have disappeared, where have they gone? 

Once you have collated this information, ask yourself is it safe for you to continue? 
Also remember other road users may not see or even hear you!! So be prepared to slow down or even stop for them.
Braking and indicating can also be given by hand (shown below). These can be used if you break down or are being towed to a garage.  

If you are stationary you also need to check your exterior mirrors to ensure you don’t open the car doors on a cyclist.
Important use of signals Signals should only be used to help or warn other road users, including pedestrians, of your intended actions. If other road users will not benefit from a signal then a signal may not be necessary. Timing your signal is important. Too early and it may be misleading.
Reflect & review 
So remember your instructor is there to HELP you, so on your driving lesson if you have any uncertainties or need anything rewording or recapping to make things any clearer, just ask. 

Your training Vehicle is fitted with dual controls and, if necessary, will be used throughout your lesson. These are in place for your safety so we can step in to keep you safe. So don’t worry if any issues arise, we will aid and guide you VERBALLY or PHYSICALLY. 

Risk management 
  • Physical control of your vehicle 
  • The aim is for you the student to have full control of this lesson with you making decisions as best you can. 
  • Your instructor’s job is to analyse any faults that may occur in this lesson and put them right. 

Q&A and talk about any issues if the situations happen on the drive. 

Level of instruction on your lesson 
  • Full talk through. 
  • Prompt. 
  • Independent. 

End of lesson 
  • Feedback at the end of your lesson. 
  • Student’s responsibility on lesson and improvement. 
  • Plan for the next lesson.
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