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  #41  
Old 22 May 2007, 09:05 PM
Neffti
 
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Originally Posted by Mosherette View Post
Yes. I learned to drive less than two years ago and it's still current here. If you're at a standstill with the handbrake on, you should be in neutral. I think you get a minor fault for not doing it on your driving test.
This is also the advice for the current UK advanced driving test. My instructor had a shorthand for it - "Long wait, feet off."
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  #42  
Old 22 May 2007, 09:14 PM
Neffti
 
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Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
Are you sure the second and third instructors weren't drunk?

I would have asked for my money back!

I think watching what rally drivers do to maintain control of a manual on slippery surfaces would give a pretty damn good idea of what is best practice!

Both hands on wheel? check

Engine braking? check

etc etc
I agree, Hans Off (and how apt your name is here!). bjohn13, I'm surprised you were given that final piece of advice about keeping your hand on the gearstick. That sounds like it's coming from someone who is passing on habits that would appear to make for more efficient driving (in that you are moving your hand on and off the wheel less), when in fact it makes for quite dangerous driving. Having only one hand on the wheel at any time means that you are not in full control of the vehicle, regardless of whether you're on a straight or a bend.

It reminds me of a friend who learnt to drive a clear 10 years before me. On our first trip out with me at the wheel, she said "Just leave your hand on the gearstick, it saves faffing about."
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  #43  
Old 23 May 2007, 01:12 AM
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Gibbie Gibbie is offline
 
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I'm always amazed at the cultural differences in driving. Especially in the hand brake at a light. We call them parking brakes because we only use them when parking. I couldn't reasonably use the parking brake in our van at a light because the release is below the dash to the left of the steering wheel and difficult for me to reach to release it. I have to lean over and it's likely my foot will come off the brake. My eyes will certainly be off the road. Not to mention that in both my car and my husband's van, the parking brake is a foot pedal. Not enough feet to keep a foot on the regular brake and set the parking brake too!

Same with the steering wheel. While we're not taught to only use one hand, I can't say that I feel it's particularly unsafe. I use both when conditions are bad, or the road is windy or it's trafficy but if it's normal just driving around I usually have it resting on the gear shift. It's not like it's not right by the steering wheel if I need it. I do drive an automatic though so it's not like I need to shift with it.

Gibbie
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  #44  
Old 24 May 2007, 12:08 AM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gibbie View Post
I'm always amazed at the cultural differences in driving. Especially in the hand brake at a light. We call them parking brakes because we only use them when parking. I couldn't reasonably use the parking brake in our van at a light because the release is below the dash to the left of the steering wheel and difficult for me to reach to release it. I have to lean over and it's likely my foot will come off the brake. My eyes will certainly be off the road. Not to mention that in both my car and my husband's van, the parking brake is a foot pedal. Not enough feet to keep a foot on the regular brake and set the parking brake too!

Same with the steering wheel. While we're not taught to only use one hand, I can't say that I feel it's particularly unsafe. I use both when conditions are bad, or the road is windy or it's trafficy but if it's normal just driving around I usually have it resting on the gear shift. It's not like it's not right by the steering wheel if I need it. I do drive an automatic though so it's not like I need to shift with it.

Gibbie
Not sure if it's so much a case of cultural differences as it is actual design differences. Most smaller cars that I've encountered (and for obvious reasons, every manual) have an actual hand-operated emergency brake that can be easily used in traffic without either interfering with the driver's footwork or forcing the driver to take his or her concentration off the road. Perhaps it's a personal thing, but I usually refer to these types of brakes as e-brakes or handbrakes, and the type of auxillary brake that you describe as a parking brake.

As far as hands on the steering wheel, in autocrossing we're taught to keep both hands on the wheel when not shifting - or in automatics, never to take your hands off the wheel. The idea is that you'll be better able to maintain control in a turn and/or be able to catch the vehicle more quickly if something goes wrong.
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  #45  
Old 24 May 2007, 05:09 AM
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Meka's 100% right, especially about the autocrossing. When I was racing, I was told the same thing. And it applies equally well for rally racing and everyday traffic. My car is an automatic, but actually has a handbrake instead of a foot brake for parking. Like the other poster, I only use it for parking, if at all. I usually use it once a month or so, just to make sure it still works.
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  #46  
Old 24 May 2007, 06:20 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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bjohn13, I'm surprised you were given that final piece of advice about keeping your hand on the gearstick. That sounds like it's coming from someone who is passing on habits that would appear to make for more efficient driving (in that you are moving your hand on and off the wheel less), when in fact it makes for quite dangerous driving. Having only one hand on the wheel at any time means that you are not in full control of the vehicle, regardless of whether you're on a straight or a bend.
Not only that, having your hand on the stick can transfer forces to the gearbox that will grind the gears together in unexpected ways, shortening the gearbox life. At least that's what the manual on some of my cars have said.
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  #47  
Old 24 May 2007, 12:59 PM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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For those that are still unsure...

THIS is how to drive a stick shift... note heel& toe and double declutching techniques as well as the hands on wheel except when changing gear bit!
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  #48  
Old 01 June 2007, 03:55 PM
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Late to the party, but the Half Witted Driver comments made me remember an overheard conversation between a pair of cheerleaders in high school. She was upset because she was just in an accident and was blaming all the cars in front of her for still being stationary at a green light moments after it had turned green. She saw the green light, equated that to 'go' and at no point noticed that the cars at the light were not yet moving. She assumed they would be moving and it was THEIR fault they were not.

The response from the other cheerleader was "Oh, GOD I know! I hate that!".

This is the same girl who drove over the parking curb, over the sidewalk curb, and through the plate glass front window of a local frozen yogurt shop by shifting into 1st and not reverse and gunning it from a stop. The car was an automatic.

I have driven both automatics and manual, but the manual was only our old 'drive for fun' convertable that didn't get out as often as we would have liked. I never drove it enough to be much good at the manual. Never had any formal training other than my dad who was also not very good at driving a manual. His idea of safety was that it was perfectly fine to drive a manual on a hot day with a quickly melting icecream cone in his hand... head following the cone down to the shifter to catch drips....

Anyway, to be somewhat on topic, my untrained self would clutch while braking at an intersection but downshift through the gears (while clutched still) in case I had to get going again in a jiffy. It meant I was not always in the right gear if I had to get going, but I sucked at properly downshifting and it was better than being totally unprepared and still in the highest gear. Once stopped I would put the car in neutral, only to save my foot the strain of standing on the clutch. It was an older car and the clutch spring was pretty hefty, you really had to stomp on it, and it would lead to fatigue to hold it down.

Hand brake was not an option since it was long since rusted out and applying it meant it would not release. In fact we usually had 3-4 cars in the family at any given time, all but one on average had rusted handbrake linkages so that they were unsafe to use. Our rule was use them all the time to keep them from rusting or NEVER use them because you don't know when they will sieze up.

My sister took her drivers test with a car whose handbrake lever connected to nothing. She had to do the park on a hill trick and did it, but the car obviously had no actual handbrake as it settled back a ways after the foot brake was removed. I hear the instructer gave her a sidways glance, smirked a little and then gave her credit for going through the correct motions.

Rusted out handbrakes were a pretty normal thing growing up in Wisconsin.
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  #49  
Old 01 June 2007, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Alluvian View Post
Anyway, to be somewhat on topic, my untrained self would clutch while braking at an intersection but downshift through the gears (while clutched still) in case I had to get going again in a jiffy. It meant I was not always in the right gear if I had to get going, but I sucked at properly downshifting and it was better than being totally unprepared and still in the highest gear. Once stopped I would put the car in neutral, only to save my foot the strain of standing on the clutch. It was an older car and the clutch spring was pretty hefty, you really had to stomp on it, and it would lead to fatigue to hold it down.

Hand brake was not an option since it was long since rusted out and applying it meant it would not release. In fact we usually had 3-4 cars in the family at any given time, all but one on average had rusted handbrake linkages so that they were unsafe to use. Our rule was use them all the time to keep them from rusting or NEVER use them because you don't know when they will sieze up.

My sister took her drivers test with a car whose handbrake lever connected to nothing. She had to do the park on a hill trick and did it, but the car obviously had no actual handbrake as it settled back a ways after the foot brake was removed. I hear the instructer gave her a sidways glance, smirked a little and then gave her credit for going through the correct motions.

Rusted out handbrakes were a pretty normal thing growing up in Wisconsin.
If you are going to hold the clutch open whilst downshifting, and use the brake to stop then there is no point in going through the gears really, you might as well move straight from top gear to first. The point of downshifting through the gears is to allow the clutch to close between gear shifts, matching the gear to the road speed as it reduces, and taking advantage of the engine resistance. A combination of sensible downshifting and braking will put the least strain on either system.

Holding the clutch open whilst trying to slow down is not really a good idea. Even if you keep the transmission in top gear, with the clutch closed you still get some engine resistance. Hold the clutch open, and you are on brakes alone.
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  #50  
Old 03 June 2007, 07:24 PM
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Reguardles of the law keeping you foot on the clutch at a light will wear out the throw out bearing. When the state pays to fix my worn out bearing they I will keep my foot on the cluch. Until that happens my foot stays off the4 clutch
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  #51  
Old 15 June 2007, 12:28 AM
Saki
 
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To answer the basic question, no, it is not illegal to have a car in neutral while stopped at a red light.

Coasting - having the car in neutral while at speed - is illegal, however. Its dangerous for a number of reasons including the fact that the car is powerless if you have a need to accelerate and there exists the chance of beraking traction by not engaging the transmission correctly.

If you have a manual transmission car and are stopped at a red light, you should be out of gear and your foot should be off the clutch. In the USA at least, you should be on the brake, not letting the car sit completely free (out of gear, no brakes applied).

The reasons for this are first, having the car in gear and clutch depressed presents the risk that you'll slip your foot off the clutch and launch the vehicle into the intersection or other traffic. Second, there's the before mentioned throwout bearing wear, and third, if someone rear ends you from behind, you don't want the car to become a missle.

I do know drivers and motocyclists that will however keep their cars in gear until traffic behind them comes to a safe stop, their argument being that if they see a rear-end collision approaching they can get out of the way.

Other things to consider include engine braking. When going down hill with a steep grade or on a long hill, engine braking is safer than using your brake system, which is friction oriented and can overheat, wearing brake pads, warping rotors, and in the worst case, boiling the brake fluid to the point it stops being able to apply the brakes. if you live on a mountain (I did), you will be amazed how engine braking extends the life of your brakes and rotors!

As well, on new cars with fuel injection (I think in the past ten years or so), engine computers cut the fuel supply to the engine when the operator is off the gas and the rpms are above the designated idle rpm. So, if you're engine braking, you're not using any gas, its the wheels providing the energy to turn the engine. Yes, engine braking wears the transmission and brake pads are less expensive, but its negligable wear and you'll never realize this cost (the transmission gets far more abuse from acceleration than deceleration).

Finally, some people claim that resting your hand on the shifter when not shifting puts undue wear on the transmission linkages. I don't really believe this, but you should always have two hands on the wheel when possible.
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  #52  
Old 15 June 2007, 12:29 AM
Saki
 
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Originally Posted by silvercorvette View Post
Reguardles of the law keeping you foot on the clutch at a light will wear out the throw out bearing. When the state pays to fix my worn out bearing they I will keep my foot on the cluch. Until that happens my foot stays off the4 clutch
Yep, the parts of the clutch system are all pretty inexpensive, but the labor of getting to them is pricey. No need to put undue wear on any part.
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  #53  
Old 19 October 2007, 11:17 PM
Neffti
 
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Here's an interesting tidbit about neutral/handbrake.

A friend of mine was trying to turn right (UK right!) on a busy A road, with a lane set aside for cars turning right. She didn't have right of way across the oncoming traffic, but the traffic was so sparse that she chose to "ride the clutch" while she waited for a space.

Whoops. She misjudged the oncoming traffic, and started to turn right. The oncoming car stopped in good time, but the 4 cars behind her, which had followed her lead, didn't, and ploughed up her bum. After 2 years of insurance battles, my poor mate had to pay for damages to the 4 cars behind her that had kept going - all because she didn't apply her handbrake. Had she done so, all would have ground to a halt. Yes, they could have halted if they'd applied their own handbrakes, but so goes the "follow-me-leader" nonsense of UK insurance claims.

My very smart, astute friend lost her licence at the age of 59, all because she didn't apply her handbrake while waiting to turn right at a junction.
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  #54  
Old 19 October 2007, 11:39 PM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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She lost her licence???!!! on what basis???? That's an incredible tale... how the hell did that get justified?I have read your post about 8 times and cannot for the life of me see how or why she would be judged liable??!!
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  #55  
Old 20 October 2007, 12:10 AM
Neffti
 
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Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
She lost her licence???!!! on what basis???? That's an incredible tale... how the hell did that get justified?I have read your post about 8 times and cannot for the life of me see how or why she would be judged liable??!!

Hans, I was incredulous too...

My friend was judged responsible because several cars behind her were ready to turn based on her indication. The fact that they all rear-ended each other was blamed on her inability to make a definite (i.e. go or stop - manoeuvre or hand-brake) decision.

I can't cite it, granted, but she was several hundred off her pension as a result of this one hand-brake error.
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  #56  
Old 20 October 2007, 07:49 AM
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Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neffti View Post
Here's an interesting tidbit about neutral/handbrake.

A friend of mine was trying to turn right (UK right!) on a busy A road, with a lane set aside for cars turning right. She didn't have right of way across the oncoming traffic, but the traffic was so sparse that she chose to "ride the clutch" while she waited for a space.

Whoops. She misjudged the oncoming traffic, and started to turn right. The oncoming car stopped in good time, but the 4 cars behind her, which had followed her lead, didn't, and ploughed up her bum. After 2 years of insurance battles, my poor mate had to pay for damages to the 4 cars behind her that had kept going - all because she didn't apply her handbrake. Had she done so, all would have ground to a halt. Yes, they could have halted if they'd applied their own handbrakes, but so goes the "follow-me-leader" nonsense of UK insurance claims.

My very smart, astute friend lost her licence at the age of 59, all because she didn't apply her handbrake while waiting to turn right at a junction.
I'm still not quite getting the story here, so correct what's wrong in my reading of it:

She was in a right hand turn lane, waiting to cross oncoming traffic, and holding the car on the clutch.

She mistakenly thinks that there is enough of a gap in the oncoming traffic to safely make the turn.

During the turn, she, realising the misjudgement, and an oncoming driver stop.

Other drivers behind her have followed her into the turn and rear-end her when she stops.

Unless I've missed something:

Use of the handbrake during the waiting period would have made no difference, since the handbrake does not AFAIK activate the brake lights.

It is the responsibility of each of the drivers to gauge whether it is safe to proceed. If there is a gap large enough for the front vehicle to turn across it doen't mean the gap as large enough for five vehicles to turn across.

Or are you saying (and I don't think you are) that when she stopped during the turn she used the handbrake rather than the footbrake, hence no brake lights, hence no warning for the gamblers behind her?

ETA I'm assuming when you say "She didn't have the right of way" you mean she was at an uncontrolled juction (turn from major road into minor road) or in the waiting space just in front of the lights at certain light controlled junctions, rather than she ran a red light, or was in a no right turn area.

ETA 2 Highway Code section 180

Quote:
180

Wait until there is a safe gap between you and any oncoming vehicle. Watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other road users. Check your mirrors and blind spot again to make sure you are not being overtaken, then make the turn. Do not cut the corner. Take great care when turning into a main road; you will need to watch for traffic in both directions and wait for a safe gap.
This might be what she was guilty of, but then again, so was everyone else in the queue behind her. That's only careless driving at worst, a CD10, CD20 or a CD30 which caries a penalty of 3-9 points, so I can't see how she could have lost her licence, unless she had already racked up a few points on it prior to this incident.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 20 October 2007 at 08:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #57  
Old 20 October 2007, 10:27 AM
niner niner is offline
 
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I'm confused also. You never said at which point she stopped (if she did), so I don't know how the people behind her rear-ended her.

Unless... was she on the handbrake, and then started moving, and 4 cars came up behind her also turning and thought she was moving faster because they had never seen her tail lights?

Or is this a UK/US terminology thing? In the US, the handbrake is what you pull when the car is parked, or if your primary brakes fail (hence the name "emergency brakes"), or if you want to "drift" your car (since the handbrake only operates rear wheels, you can cause the rears to break away while accelerating around a curve).

HenryB
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  #58  
Old 20 October 2007, 02:42 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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add me to the confused people..

a hand brake wouldn't have changed anything... a hand signal maybe, or brakelights. to be honest, it seems kind of silly to me to have the hand brake when you're waiting to turn across oncoming traffic. (UK Right, US Left) as usually the timing isn't right. I can see if she wasn't applying her regular brakes. but the hand brake seems to be a bit... excessive. keeping your feet on the brake and clutch and the car in gear is the generally accepted way to to do it here. because it allows you to quickly change from a stopped position to moving. this is the same if you're going straight. and which is why you leave a carlength in front of you when you stop! (drivers ed video... nobody does that in practice as somebody will invariably cut into the space you left in case someone can't stop in time behind you, giving an extra carlenght allows you to pull ahead and avoid an accident)

turning across oncoming traffic is never easy, but it sounds like she was sitting with the car in gear, no foot on the brake, but a foot on the gas ready to go when there was enough room. here, my insurance company would say it's the person behind her's fault. yes she started to go,b ut then she stopped, (how'd she stop if not using her brakes which turn on the brake lights, which signal the others to stop) all a hand brake would do is prevent her from being pushed into oncoming traffic from being rear ended...

that's kind of a silly law to have the handbrake on... if it is a law. strange...
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  #59  
Old 20 October 2007, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by niner View Post
I'm confused also. You never said at which point she stopped (if she did), so I don't know how the people behind her rear-ended her.

Unless... was she on the handbrake, and then started moving, and 4 cars came up behind her also turning and thought she was moving faster because they had never seen her tail lights?

Or is this a UK/US terminology thing? In the US, the handbrake is what you pull when the car is parked, or if your primary brakes fail (hence the name "emergency brakes"), or if you want to "drift" your car (since the handbrake only operates rear wheels, you can cause the rears to break away while accelerating around a curve).

HenryB
No it's not a terminology thing. The handbrake is exactly the same thing here as you describe - a lever which engages the rear brakes only via a mechanical linkage rather than the hydraulic system. For parking, and in the event of a hydraulic failure. I'm sort of aware that skilled ue of the handbrake can let a driver pull off some impressive manouvers, but this is not something I would expect a 58 YO woman to be doing in normal traffic situations.

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Originally Posted by FullMetal View Post
add me to the confused people..

a hand brake wouldn't have changed anything... a hand signal maybe, or brakelights. to be honest, it seems kind of silly to me to have the hand brake when you're waiting to turn across oncoming traffic. (UK Right, US Left) as usually the timing isn't right. I can see if she wasn't applying her regular brakes. but the hand brake seems to be a bit... excessive. keeping your feet on the brake and clutch and the car in gear is the generally accepted way to to do it here. because it allows you to quickly change from a stopped position to moving. this is the same if you're going straight. and which is why you leave a carlength in front of you when you stop! (drivers ed video... nobody does that in practice as somebody will invariably cut into the space you left in case someone can't stop in time behind you, giving an extra carlenght allows you to pull ahead and avoid an accident)

turning across oncoming traffic is never easy, but it sounds like she was sitting with the car in gear, no foot on the brake, but a foot on the gas ready to go when there was enough room. here, my insurance company would say it's the person behind her's fault. yes she started to go,b ut then she stopped, (how'd she stop if not using her brakes which turn on the brake lights, which signal the others to stop) all a hand brake would do is prevent her from being pushed into oncoming traffic from being rear ended...

that's kind of a silly law to have the handbrake on... if it is a law. strange...
Youi can hold the car on the clutch without brakes, thinking about it, it may not be good for the clutch though.

I'll engage the handbrake and slip into neutral if I anticipate a long wait, but not when waiting to turn against oncoming traffic.

The only situation I can think of (in the UK) where you are required to apply the handbrake is at a "STOP" sign, where you are supposed to come to a complete halt, engage the handbrake, then ds-engage the handbrake and continue. Except on a driving test for the sake of the examiner, I can't think of a single person who ever actually does this though.
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  #60  
Old 20 October 2007, 07:11 PM
Lambda Lambda is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
The only situation I can think of (in the UK) where you are required to apply the handbrake is at a "STOP" sign, where you are supposed to come to a complete halt, engage the handbrake, then ds-engage the handbrake and continue. Except on a driving test for the sake of the examiner, I can't think of a single person who ever actually does this though.
This may be a really stupid question, but does anyone know what the actual law is on this one. I can't recall ever seeing anything written that says anything other than you must stop, no mention of the use of the handbrake.
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