Using the gears / Automatic Transmission Chapter 5  Pages 96 - 103

The way you use your gears can make or mar your driving. Correct use of the gears depends on accurately matching the gear to the road speed and using the clutch and accelerator precisely.

Moving off from stationary.

From a standing start accelerate smoothly and gather speed by steadily working up through the gears. You should only use maximum acceleration through the gears if there is a pressing need and if the road surface and other conditions are safe. Over accelerating in low gears or remaining in a gear beyond the limits of its best performance damages the engine, uses excessive fuel and results in slower progress.

Accurate use of the gears

Your vehicle can only increase speed if the engine can deliver the power and it can only do this if you are in the correct gear, aim to:

  • Be in the correct gear for every road speed and traffic situation

  • Make all gear changes smoothly

  • Engage a chosen gear without going through an intermediate gear first

  • Know the approximate maximum road speed for each gear

  • Know the most efficient point at which to change up

Automatic Transmission

Automatic transmissions change the gear according to the speed of the vehicle. You must be familiar to the system in your vehicle as different vehicles operate in a distinctive manner, some do more than others, some have more options than others and the mechanisms of each system vary a great deal. For example there are wide differences in the means of gear selection.

Automatic transmission modes

The gear selector in an automatic vehicle is often in the form of a lever on the floor or on the steering wheel column, Most gear selectors have similar modes:

  • Park -        P

  • Reverse -  R

  • Neutral -   N

  • Drive -      D

You would be expected to know about additional facilities such as Sport or Economy Modes, drivers of automatic vehicles would be expected to demonstrate the Kick Down facility

Remember Gears for Go

Brakes for Slow









‘Diagrams and text from Roadcraft – The Police Rider’s Handbook, published 2013 by The Stationery Office (TSO) © Police Foundation copyright 2013. Reproduced with permission from the Police Foundation.’