We do certain things without thinking about them as one of my friends says often. One such thing is driving cars. People who’re used to driving cars regularly, don’t have to think a second time about what they are doing. They use the gear lever and steering wheel as if they are extensions of their arm. They use the pedals as if they are just another part of their body.
When they brake for a round about, for example, they lift their right foot off the accelerator pedal and start depressing the brake pedal. They do this without even thinking what they are doing. It’s instinctive. All is well until now. What do they do next? They position their left foot directly over the clutch pedal even as they start braking. What they normally do as I have observed quite a number of times is, they bring the car to neutral! After bringing the car to neutral, they keep increasing the brake pressure on the brake pedal until they cross the round about. When they deem that it is safe to open up the throttle again, they position their left foot over the clutch pedal again, depress it and shift to a lower gear. Is it correct? Is bringing the car’s transmission to neutral while braking effective? The answer is a no with a capital N. Why not? I am not going to give you a straight answer.
Instead, do a simple activity that I have outlined below to get (feel) the answer for yourself.
Step 1: Put your car in first gear and accelerate to about 40 kph.
Step 2: When you have reached that speed, leave the accelerator pedal and immediately depress the clutch pedal.
Step 3: Just note how long it takes for the car to come to a stop. (Note down mentally, no need for stop watch and all!)
Step 4: Start all over again. Put the car in first gear, accelerate to 40 kph and leave the throttle. This time DON’T PRESS THE CLUTCH PEDAL. Again, note down mentally how long it takes for the car to come to a stop.
After this simple exercise, you’ll know for yourself if it’s correct to bring the transmission to neutral while braking. You’ll definitely feel the difference but, in case you can’t make out the reasoning behind my view, check out the answer here at Wheels of Ram a few days later.