Some drivers always change through the gears one-by-one (1,2,3,4,5 – 5,4,3,2,1).

This is a habit that has stuck with some older drivers from when they originally learned to drive and was commonly taught well into the late 1990s. But it’s not generally good practice to use the gears in this way when driving modern cars.

Over the years, motor car design and engineering has improved. Compared with cars of even thirty years ago, modern vehicles are lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamic.

These changes (and others) mean that the driving method that was essential in older cars is not necessary for modern driving.

Because cars used to be heavy and braking systems were not as efficient as they now are, it was necessary to use the gears (or to be more precise, the engine compression) to help to slow the car down.

The combination of efficient braking systems and lighter vehicles now means that drivers can slow down without the need to change to a lower gear.

Gears to go!

Gear changes are only required when power is needed to keep the car moving. Specific gears can be used in different situations to vary the effect of the gas pedal on balance an handling.

This means that if you are stopping, you don’t need to change gear until after you have stopped. This is the preferred method of the UK Driving Standards Agency and all advanced driving organisations. It is not necessary to change gears in sequence.

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