30 Tips To Help Learner Drivers Pass Their Driving Test (part 4)

4.  Change Gears Using the ‘Palming’ Technique

Selecting 5th & Reverse gears

Many learners resist going into 5th gear at the proper time because they are worried about accidentally going into 3rd. Proper use of the palming technique will alleviate those fears and have you looking forward to selecting 5th gear at the appropriate times!

As your car will already moving at a significant speed, you will have plenty of time to select 5th gear without losing momentum.

To go from 4th gear into 5th, turn your palm to face inward (thumb facing up) and with the clutch down, using a little sideways pressure, push the gearstick diagonally forward towards your knee.

To change down from 5th gear, with the clutch down, gently ease the gearstick into neutral before selecting the appropriate gear (in two distinct movements).

At no point should you be actually grabbing the gear knob at the top of the gearstick.

Reverse gear differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, and even model to model so your driving instructor will need to demonstrate reverse gear on your particular car.

Having said that, there is a common ‘rookie mistake’ learners struggle with that we can address here.

It’s not uncommon for a car to slip out of reverse before it is properly engaged. There are a couple of ways to tell if this has happened to you:

  • You may hear a faint, raspy whirring sound as you try to get biting point.
  • You will not be able to get ‘biting point’ so the back of your car will not raise up as you bring up the clutch.

The solution to this is simple. Put the gearstick back into neutral, then ‘pump the clutch’ once all the way down and try slowly selecting reverse again.

That should fix the problem but if this becomes a regular occurrence you may need to take your car to a garage to have the gearbox checked over.

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