Braking Tips: Clutch first or brake first

A typical challenge those learning driving face relates to braking: should they first use clutch or the brake. In our braking tips we will simply the issue in context of situations you are likely to face but first, you would need to know what does a clutch do.

Braking Tips: Clutch first or brake first

Clutch simply disengages the gearbox from the wheels which helps the wheels to move freely and independently of the engine. If you want to stop and do not use your clutch, then your car will eventually stall and come to a halt. This will cause damage to your engine, clutch and transmission. The car stalls because the brakes are trying to stop the car while the engine is trying to propel the car ahead. As you are not accelerating, the revs of the engine keep falling and eventually the engine dies and the car stalls. So, how do you properly brake? Here are four ‘braking situations’ and tips to handle them:

At low speeds: First clutch then brake

You have to press the clutch before the brake pedal if your speed is less than the lowest speed of the gear you are in. You can find the lowest speed of the gear by simple releasing the clutch and not using the accelerator. The speed that you can achieve without the use of the accelerator is the lowest speed of the gear. This is usually done in bumper to bumper traffic as your speed is usually less than the lowest speed of the 1st gear.

For instance, you know that the lowest speed of your car’s first gear is 10 kmph and you are going at 8 kmph. As your speed is already less than the lowest speed of the gear, your car will struggle and stall, when you brake. To avoid this, you would first need to press the clutch so that the engine is not dependent on the transmission and then start braking. 

Sudden Braking: Clutch and brake together

Clutch and brake together are usually used in emergencies as it is the most effective way to brake without damaging the mechanical parts of the car. If someone or something comes in front of your car you would have to press the clutch and brake together, this will ensure that you do not accelerate by accident as your gearbox will be disengaged from the wheels. And you will be able to stop with the full braking power of your car. 

At High Speeds: First brake then clutch

Brake is first used when you are travelling at decent speed and you need to slow down a bit. Now, if you decide to stop or the speed of your car reaches the lowest speed of the gear then you would need to use the brakes so that your car does not stall.

When you will start braking, your speed will start falling and once it goes below 15kmph, your start will start struggling and eventually stall. To avoid this, you would need to press the clutch once you hit the lower speed of the gear or when you feel the engine is about to struggle.

Temporary slowdown: Only Brake

You only need to use the brake if you want to slow down or if there is an obstacle in your way and you want to turn slightly away from it. As you are above the lowest speed of the gear, you can just decrease your speed slightly and the continue.

For instance, this is mostly done on highways when there is a car in front of you. If you are going at 100kmph, in fifth gear and you need to slow down. You would just press the brake, your speed will decrease but you will not hit the lowest speed of the gear so you do not need to use the clutch. 

So there you are. Just remember the lowest speed of the gear varies from car to car. This would help you understand in which circumstance you should use your brake first or your clutch first. Remember to keep practicing and slowly you would not need to think about it and would be able to brake perfectly.