Before the examiner gets you to do this exercise they will stop you at the side of the road and tell you what they want you to do next. The examiner will NOT try to take you by surprise. Only one in three driving tests do the emergency stop.
"Within the next few minutes I want you to stop in an emergency. I want you to stop promptly, and under full control. The signal to stop will be- (examiner shows you the salute type signal) - STOP. Before I give you the signal to stop, I will look around over my right shoulder to make sure that the road is clear behind. Please don't stop until I give you the signal "
How to do it:
When you drive away it is important to drive along at a normal speed, and in a normal road position, accelerating normally up to the speed limit if it is safe. Also keep an eye on your mirrors, so that you know what is around you. You shouldn't be driving slowly so that you can stop easily, and you shouldn't be driving fast and in the middle of the road so that you have room to skid. This won't impress the examiner, not in a good way anyway!
When you get the signal to stop: STOP. Don't check the mirrors- the examiner has already checked behind - just STOP! Be quick and firm, concentrate on the brake, and only push the clutch down just before you stop (if you have time). Remember it is an emergency stop, not a casual stop. It should be sudden! Imagine that a child has just run out in front of you, and you must stop to avoid running them over. If everything on the back seat falls off you know that you've done a good one.
When you are expecting the 'stop' signal from the examiner - keep your left foot away from the clutch. If you hover over the clutch, you will automatically press it down before the brake:
(This will make the car momentarily seem to go faster: Because in the time between lifting your foot off the gas and hitting the brake, if the clutch is down, you will lose all engine braking. Maintaining engine braking at this point actually helps you stop more quickly, as it causes weight transfer to the front wheels, spreads the tyre contact patch, and digs the tyre in, enabling your braking to be harder without skidding.)
If you brake too hard, you may skid, if you haven't got ABS: If so, come off the brake and brake again, but not so hard the next time. (It is possible to fail on an uncorrected skid - but as most driving school cars now have ABS, this is unlikely - see below).
It doesn’t matter if you stall, as long as you stop.
A fail on the emergency stop is usually because the candidate either doesn't brake hard enough or doesn't react quickly enough. Remember it is supposed to be an emergency. Keep your heel under the brake pedal and pivot your foot onto the gas. If you need to react quickly you just pivot back to the brake pedal. If you have to lift your heel to re-position your foot you will take too long to react.
After you have stopped: Apply the handbrake, select neutral, and wait for further instruction. When you are asked to pull away- Check LEFT and RIGHT blindspots (because you will be well away from the kerb), and your mirrors before moving off. Indicate right to pull away if any other traffic is nearby, but far enough away for you to be able to pull away without affecting it. If other traffic approaches you while you are stopped - indicate left, to encourage it to go past.
If your vehicle has ABS - brake firmly and stay on it, you may feel it pumping or hear a noise if the ABS works. Don’t worry, stay on the brake and it will stop without skidding.
When ABS was first used on cars, there was an increase in accidents. This was because when people were braking hard in an emergency, they would hear the ABS "banging" . They would then come off the brake, thinking they had broken something. Of course, then they didn't stop in time and crashed, into what they were trying to brake to avoid.
Important note about ABS:
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I found Alan to be calm, chatty and very good at explaining things without being condescending. I found the website useful especially in preparation for my test. Alan prepared me so well for my test day, that I wasn't even nervous! I would happily recommend Alan to anyone thinking of driving lessons, and the trial lesson was a great idea!" Angela Borst - Rayleigh
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