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B is for Brakes

Question: what do the brakes do?

If you said “stop the car” then you need to read on. If you said “slow” the car then that’s great (but read on anyway).

The brakes are a method of reducing the speed of the car. If you put your foot on the brake, the car will slow down. If you keep your foot on the brake for longer, the car will slow down more. Eventually, if your foot stays on the brake, you will slow down so much that you will stop. Congratulations, you have just discovered how to stop the car smoothly and routinely.

Pressing the brake gently will allow you to lose speed gradually and keep your passengers comfortable at the same time. You’ll need to do this early because it takes a long time.

Pressing the brakes firmly will slow you down in a shorter amount of time. Occasionally, firm braking is unavoidable, but if you find your braking is fierce all the time then it means you weren’t planning ahead properly, and you deserve to spill your coffee.

The £2 magic carpet challenge.

Place a £2 coin on the front shelf. Go for a drive and imagine you a driving a magic carpet. Brake as smoothly as possible. If the coin falls off the dashboard then your passengers get to keep it.

Thus challenge also work if you place a full cup of iced water between your legs.

Feel – Firm – Feather

Feel-firm-feather is a method of ensuring a good, smooth braking technique. When your forward-planning tells you that you need to begin the braking process, press the brake pedal just enough to feel that the car is slowing. Then gradually depress the brake pedal more and more until the rate of slowing is satisfactory. Keep adjusting how firm the pedal is pressed until your desired speed is reached. Finally, if coming to a complete stop,feather the braking by easing off the brake pedal just before the car stops to a complete halt. This prevents the uncomfortable “lurch and recoil” at the give way line, and ensures your coffee stays in its cup.

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A is for accelerator

The accelerator increases the amount of fuel being sent to the engine. Pressing the accelerator pedal increases the engine speed, making the car go faster. Easing off or releasing the accelerator makes the car slow down. The accelerator is sometimes called the throttle (more common amongst motorcyclists).

Accelerator Sense” is a technique which requires the driver to plan ahead and adjust the car’s speed using only the accelerator pedal; the brakes being used only when a more rapid reduction in speed is required.

Often called the gas pedal, it is the rightmost pedal in most cars and is operated with the right foot. The term “gas” is from gasoline the American word for petrol.

The spring mechanism, which pushes the pedal upwards when the driver removes their foot, is an example of a fail-safe mechanism.

Eco-safe driving suggests that the accelerator is used gently, although when a sudden increase in speed is needed, a “foot to the floor” technique is used.