Well, if you have been driving for long time then I am sure you must have heard about this question many times.
I have explored this a lot, tried both strategies in after all that all my conclusions are here:
- Brake first always when you are driving on highway or at higher speeds (above 40-50 km/h) consistently
- In city – mix between brake first and clutch first as per your comfort.
- Get your leg off clutch whenever possible – even when you are in city
- Always always brake first when driving downhill.
I often hear people complain about pain in knees after driving for long duration – this can be avoided to large extent by using brake first technique. When you are driving at high speeds on highways you are very less likely to stall your engine. Assume you are going on 5th gear at around 80-90km/h and if you hit the brake and come down to 40-50km/h you can still continue at 5th gear or take the brake first and downshift the gear later if needed.
As a new driver you always prefer to keep one leg on the clutch so as to avoid stalling engine – but then with time that becomes a habit. Wherever you drive – you always hit the clutch first and then the brake even when it’s not needed. Remember this that hitting brake without hitting clutch helps you brake quicker because the friction provided by engine aids you in slowing down fast (Read up about Engine braking). And at high speed when you want to stop quickly – it can make a huge difference. You might be a bit reluctant in using brake first and then clutch initially but as you keep practising this technique you will start loving it.
When you are driving downhill
- Brake first is a must. Drive in lower gears and avoid continuous usage of brakes.
- Be aware of things like “brake fade” and “engine brake”.
- If your vehicle is overloaded then consider taking breaks every 2-3 hours while driving downhill – this will allow the brake pads to cool down.
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