Car controls are divided into 3 categories:

  • Foot controls - description and operation of the accelerator, brake and clutch.
  • Hand controls - correct use of steering wheel, gears and hand brake.
  • Auxiliary controls - correct use of indicators. Other auxiliary controls include windscreen wipers / washers, lights, heaters and demisters although these are often explained at a later date.

Foot controls

Foot controls are the Accelerator, Brake and Clutch and from right to left can easily be remembered as ABC. The accelerator and brake are operated with the ball of the right foot and the clutch is operated using the left foot.

The accelerator will often be referred to as the gas pedal during driving lessons as it is quicker to say. The accelerator is very light and easy to press and is used to increase the amount of fuel going into the engine. More fuel means more power.

The foot brake has much more tension than the accelerator. The brake needs to be used carefully and lightly. When you wish to stop the car, press the brake lightly and gently increase pressure until the car has stopped.

The clutch is easier and lighter to press than the brake and is used to break the connection between the drive wheels and the engine so that gears can be selected.

Hand controls

Using the steering wheel correctly in terms of where you hold it is important not only for safety but is also assessed to a degree during the driving test.

The gears in a car allow you to increase and decrease speed and enable the car to be fuel efficient by selecting the appropriate gear. It is important to know where each of the gears are and how to correctly use them as detailed in the changing gears tutorial.

The handbrake or parking brake as it is also referred to secures the back wheels of the car. Handbrake is to be applied when the car has been parked and if you are waiting in traffic for a period of time.

To apply the handbrake and secure the back wheels, the handbrake is to be gripped firmly using the left hand, pushing the button in with the thumb as you pull the lever up. Continue pulling the handbrake up until the lever becomes tense and release the button. Be reasonably firm when pulling the lever but not excessively.

To release the handbrake, grip with the left hand, slightly pull the lever up and as you do so push the button in with your thumb. Place the lever down until it stops and release the button. Testing this should be done whilst your right foot is firmly pressed on the foot brake.

Auxiliary controls

A diagram is below showing the controls on my car. There may be some variation from car to car so please familiarise yourself with any car you drive before setting off.

The most important are:

Indicators are used to show others your intention of changing direction. During a driving test, the examiner will be assessing you to ensure you indicate in good time and that you cancel the indicator once the task has been completed. The indicator lever is usually found to the left side of the steering wheel.
Over the course of your lessons we will introduced to the other controls on the car.