Emergency Stop

How can I do the emergency stop exercise?

Currently, the emergency stop appears in approximately a third of category B driving tests, depending on the route and if time allows. Your examiner will select a quiet and convenient road to carry out the exercise and will ask you to pull over in a suitable location. They will direct you (or similar):

“Very shortly I shall ask you to stop as in an emergency: the signal will be like this (examiner will demonstrate hand movement). When I do that, stop immediately and under full control as though a child had run off the pavement.”

When they have checked your understanding of what is required, you will be asked to move away. So drive as you normally would, until you to are told to stop, remember that your actions are still being monitored (and marked!).

Break as soon as you hear the instruction to stop, and see the hand signal from the examiner. Don’t delay your breaking to check mirrors, in this case the examiner will have checked around to make sure that it is safe to carry out the exercise (and any small child that runs into the road needs to take priority on the mirrors anyway!).

Emergency stop brake then clutch

Hold the steering wheel firmly and break strongly till the car stops (remember to push the clutch in to stop the engine stalling). If you some reason the wheels ‘lock up’ release some pressure on the break, until control is regained and then break firmly again to complete the stop.

Emergency Stop

The examiner will then ask you to drive on when ready, and inform you that you will not be asked to perform the exercise again.

Before moving away, remember to check both left and right blind spots, as other road users could pose you a problem on either side of your car. If required, apply a signal to alert others of your intentions.

Emergency Stop

Possible faults:

Promptness:  not reacting quickly to the ‘stop’ call.

Control:  not maintaining good control during the stop and while you are stationary.

Moving away:  without good vision, safety or control.


Learning to drive an automatic car

Driving an automatic is easier than driving a manual

If you’re switching, it feels strange at first – your left leg unconsciously looks for the clutch, and your hand itches to reach for the handle of the gearbox on every crossroad.

Gradually, those things stop, and your body shifts focus; instead of thinking about the change of gears, it makes you start scanning the crossroad’s surroundings for possible surprises, like a stray pet or careless child. You grip the wheel more confidently and drive more aware of what’s going on around you…

Of course, you might be just starting your adventure with driving. That’s just as well, because with just a few lessons, like, for example automatic driving lessons Southampton, you can grasp the basics, without having to let go of the manual’s habits first.

Just for the record, lessons can be taken at any level of advancement. That means, if you were riding a manual and want to switch to automatic, you can also book an hour or more with automatic driving lessons in Southampton, and still enjoy your time as an automat’s driver just as much.

Learning to drive an automatic car
A word about automatic and manual transmission

As the car market develops, so do our possibility to choose certain aspects of the vehicle: big or small? Red or blue? Shiny or matte?

However important those questions might be, there’s one more issue that deciding on should take priority, as it changes everything: manual or automatic transmission vehicle?

What’s the difference?

For starters, the absolute basics change – the automatic transmission has only two pedals, as opposed to the manual’s three. The one that disappears is the clutch, leftmost pedal, that’s needed to be pressed during the change of gears manoeuvre in manual transmission.

That manoeuvre is also absent from driving a car with an automatic gearbox, because the vehicle does it for you – automatically.

Those small differences affect everything, from the smoothness of the drive, to the wear and tear damage innermost parts of your car take.


Automatic change of gears is almost invisible for the person driving. The transmission system is designed to raise or lower the gear smoothly together with a change in demand for the speed your car is supposed to reach. Your job is to give it a signal through the throttle or brake.

On the other hand, manual demands for you to reach the correct speed and a number of engine revs, before pressing the clutch (it will cause a drop in revs, so you need to remember about that as well), changing the gear manually through the right movement, then releasing the clutch – again, incorrect way, so as not to choke your engine. Although, different to the automatic, manuals allow you to show off the power of your engine by revving it (or, force it to work on higher rev than needed for the current speed, causing it to create a characteristic roar), it is not by any means a feature needed for safe or practical driving.


Some people insist manual allows them to feel more in control of the vehicle. While that might be true, as the manual lets you control the slightest change inside of your car, it heightens the rate at which the car wears down.

Every raise of speed prompts gear increase, every slowing down a gear reduction.

While it’s true also for automatic transmission, allowing automat to chose the moment of gear change makes it more effective and less straining on the engine system of the car. There’s no distraction for automat, no outside surroundings it also needs to pay attention to while changing gears – different to the driver.

For example, in a sudden situation like a passerby entering the road, the driver’s natural reaction should be hitting brakes to avoid a tragedy. While in manual, your engine still works on higher gear and simultaneously slows down because of brakes, automatic transmission car has already started gear reduction. You probably know which is better, for both your brakes and engine.


In short – whether you’re a beginner driver, or a manual-driving person wishing for the widening of their driving skill potential – learning to drive an automatic car is a good idea.

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