I can only drive uphill with the handbrake on.

Both novice drivers and experienced drivers often panic when they have to start up a (steep) hill. The tension is even greater when there are several cars directly behind your own vehicle. Drivers often use the method of starting off with the handbrake, but this is actually not the optimal method. To do this, the handbrake is pulled and slowly released while at the same time letting the clutch come on and accelerating. This method is not the best for several reasons:

  • with a fully occupied vehicle on a relatively steep hill, it can happen with some vehicles that the handbrake cannot hold the vehicle properly
  • The handbrake – clutch – accelerator coordination can easily go wrong, so that if you accelerate too much, you run into the vehicle in front (in the worst case)
  • Many modern vehicles no longer have a mechanical handbrake. They only have one button in their place.

What is the best way to start up a mountain?

Example: Uphill at a red traffic light. Keep your foot on the brake on the hill. Squeeze the clutch with your left foot and shift into first gear. Now, while standing with your foot on the brake, let the clutch come on very slowly until you feel a slight jerk, i.e. you have reached the so-called “slipping point”. Hold this constellation until you want to pull away. The most important step of this method now comes to starting off: you have to switch from the brake to the accelerator very quickly with your right foot. (Left stays on the clutch) When you step on the gas, at the same time let the clutch come the last bit.

Hill start assistants can often be ordered for new vehicles for a small additional charge. These automatically recognize gradients and hold the brakes until you have started. By the way, with automatic cars, starting uphill is not a problem, since you can never roll back thanks to the automatic gearshift. If you release the brake here, the car always rolls forward in what is known as “creeping gear”.


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