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In gear!

Many drivers who have held their driver´s licences for years tend to go down each gear individually - they claim that it was something they were told to do by their driving instructors!

Whilst it is encouraged for new learner drivers to have some private practice with their parents, the problem is that they pick up their parents bad habits of driving. Habits including, going down each gear individually when slowing down and signalling around every parked car they come across!

There is no need to change through the gears when you are slowing down and it is perfectly safe to change from 5th gear down to 1st gear. Remember the gears help the car to perform better at the speed you are driving at and it is important that you are in the correct gear for when you are accelerating. When you are slowing down however, the gear is irrelevant all that matters is that you have the correct gear for when you are about to accelerate again. So if you were driving at 40mph and were in 4th gear and then you slowed down for a roundabout and your speed dropped to 10mph, you would simply change from 4th gear to 2nd and skip 3rd gear out altogether.

There are a number of reasons why it is preferred to skip gears when slowing down. Firstly, it means that by only changing gear once you will have your two hands on the steering wheel for longer, which is safer. Secondly, with each gear change you will have your clutch down and if you go down through each of the gears and you don´t bring your clutch up in between the changes then you will be coasting. Coasting will make you lose control and take you longer to stop. Finally, it generates less wear and tear on the clutch and gears if you only change the gear to the one you need.