Most people have secrets which only they themselves know. This includes fears, likes and dislikes. When I was young, living in the villages surrounded by all kinds of trees, I could climb up all sorts of trees.
Despite my mother giving me stern warnings, as it is dangerous climbing fruit trees, I usually ended up climbing trees such as mangosteen, rambutans, langsat, guava and even rubber trees as well.
But to tell you the truth, the most difficult and one that I feared to climb most was the coconut tree. Climbing up a tall coconut tree which sometimes grow up to a height of 40 – 50 feet tall is one thing. But to pluck the fruits of this tree successfully, one has to climb over its leaves and then sit amongst its many branches on top. This would enable us to twist and kick down the fruits which we wanted.
In Malaysian driving circles, the driving test which a student faces include Part II of its parking test. Part II encompasses slope, side parking followed by the 3 point turn maneuvers.
What instructor end up is having our students asking us time and time again, “is it difficult going up a slope?”
This has led me to come to a conclusion, whereas in reality, what a student fears most in their driving course is actually going up a slope.
I am not aware of other driving instructor but personally, I make it a point to impart to my students the technique of going up a slope the very first 3 or 4 lessons of the course.
As I impart to my students the basics of driving which is done usually at housing estate where there are fewer cars around, I usually stop at small slopes to teach my student the art of slope climbing.
The gradient selected are mostly no more than 10% only. In areas where I live and conduct my practical lessons, the housing estates usually have such slopes around. Call it godsend or luck if you may.
What I usually do when I see a small slope ahead is to stop the car and pull up the handbrake. I will then proceed to explain to my student that we are in fact on a slope. Explain to the student that in such an area, failure to install the handbrake is dangerous.
Then I release the handbrake and demonstrates to the student that by not installing the handbrake on will cause the vehicle to roll backwards, thereby hitting the vehicle behind thus causing an accident.
By demonstrating the above to a student who is new and knowing nothing much about driving, the student will be taught in areas where there is a slope, one has to quickly pull up the handbrake.
How does an instructor then proceed to teach a student the mechanics of going up a slope?
With the handbrakes on, press the accelerator harder than normal. Explain to the student that he or she can now hear the engine audibly or clearly. Do this a few times until the student is able to distinguish the difference of the engine sound rather well.
If you should possess a newer model of a vehicle for tuition purposes, so much the better. Go on to explain to the student that by looking at the R.P.M meter, a student has to accelerate until this meter should ideally reach 2.
With the tachometer hitting 2000 rpm, the car will now be strong enough to go up the slope successfully. Proceed then to request the student to leave his or her leg (which is the clutch) until the car begins to jerk slightly.
Control the clutch well, accelerate the petrol a little bit more, leave the brake and voila, the car will end up going up the slope successfully.
What I am explaining may sound rather easy. But in reality, only if you have 40 or so years of experience will you then be able to successfully guide your student in going up the slope.
Slopes At The Institutes
Next, I will explain the proper manner of teaching students how to process up the slope at the institutes’ premises itself.
At institutes, slopes there are much higher having a 30 – 40% gradients . Obviously, slope of such nature are much more difficult to execute.
But to students who have already been exposed to the low slopes found at housing estates earlier, the basics are the same and they should in fact have little difficulty in going up the slopes found in the institutes.
The only differences this time around, they will have to accelerate a little bit much harder to go up the slope successfully.
How does an instructor teach a student regarding slope at the institutes’ premises?
Learning how to go up the slope will require an hour or 1 lesson of instruction. First of all, let it be known to the student that when going up the slope, use the first gear. When ascending the slope, put the steering straight.
Use more petrol, accelerate harder than normal thus enabling the car to proceed up the slope. On descending, the student it taught to step down the clutch. This is to prevent the vehicle from stalling.
At the stop-look-go sign, a student is taught how to stop. The process of going up the slope and down it will be done at least 7 – 10 times.
Next, the student is taught the proper and correct manner to stop at the apex of the slope. In this aspect, the student is advised to look at the right hand side mirror to be in line with the 1st stick which is placed on the right hand side of the slope.
As the student has already learnt how to go up the slope at housing areas, to attempt going up the slope at the institutes’ level will therefore be no problem at all.
During practical test, a student is given 3 minutes to perform the slope. He or she is in fact given 2 chances. And do remember, when proceeding up the slope, the engine should ideally not stall as this may cause a student to fail.
It cannot be denied, many students face problems while going up the slope. But it is my belief that with adequate practice, students will find it rather easy to perform this aspect of their test quite successfully after all.