Press the clutch or brake first when slowing down or stopping




Clutch or brake first when stopping or
slowing down?

Should you press the clutch first before the brake when stopping or brake then clutch? This is a common question for new drivers. Have a look at the video below for some demonstrations to help you understand which pedal to press first.

 

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Video on which pedal first... brake or clutch?





Clutch or brake first when stopping

 

Press the clutch to stop it stalling

Which pedal first when stopping or slowing down?

It all depends on the speed you're driving and if you're going uphill.

Firstly, it's important to know why you need to press the clutch down before stopping. Without getting too technical as there's lots of other videos and information on the internet about that already, you simply need to press the clutch down before stopping or the car will stall.

You'll normally feel the car start to shake before it stalls. If you feel it shaking then press the clutch down quickly and you should save it from stalling.

But to prevent it from stalling in the first place you'd normally fully press the clutch down roughly two car lengths before you come to a complete stop.




Brake then clutch

 

Clutch then brake

 

 

Driving fast.

I'm driving above 25mph in 3rd gear and I want to stop. The main priority because of the speed I'm driving is to slow down so I'll release the gas and now press the brake. Second priority is not to stall. Press the clutch down roughly 2 car lengths before stopping completely.

Another example. The speed limit is 40mph and I'm driving over 30mph.

Firstly I'll release the gas pedal and press the brake to slow down more. Press the clutch down about 2 car lengths before stopping to prevent it stalling.

Driving slowly.

If you're driving slowly below 10mph and want to stop then press the clutch before the brake so that the car doesn't stall.

You're more likely to stall or have a shaky stop if you're driving slowly below 10mph and press the brake first then clutch.

You can also press both the clutch and brake at the same time when you're driving slowly if needed. 

Uphill.

If you're driving uphill and want to stop then come off gas and let gravity slow you down, it's acting almost as a brake. Press the clutch about 2 car lengths before stopping and then brake.




Can't you just press the clutch before the brake every time?

Well then you could be coasting which is making the car freewheel and it could increase speed like this which means you'll have to brake more. You lose engine braking.

No engine braking



Don't forget...

Driving slowly, clutch then brake when stopping.

Driving faster, brake then clutch down.

Slowing down but not stopping?

If you just want to slow down and not stop then release the gas pedal and brake if needed but you won't need to press the clutch unless you have to change gear.






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Driving test information Online theory tests How to do an emergency stop Show me, tell me questions

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