Lesson 1, Topic 1
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On this lesson, you will learn all about the gears in a car, how to change gear and how to understand what gear you should be in.

You will also learn how to change gear smoothly by using the clutch pedal well.

Video 1

Video 2

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Video 4



You change gear with the gear lever.

You’ll use the lower gears for moving away and driving slowly, and change into higher gears as the car speeds up.

Using as high a gear as possible for speed and road traffic conditions saves fuel.

The car you drive will probably have 5 or 6 forward gears and a reverse gear.

Neutral is when the car is not in any gear.



The clutch links the engine to the wheels through the gearbox. It allows the gradual connection of the engine to the wheels.

The steps to change gear are:

  • Raise your right foot off the gas pedal (so it is covering the gas pedal only)
  • Press the clutch pedal all the way down with your left foot
  • Select the appropriate gear
  • Press the gas pedal lightly as you gradually bring the clutch pedal up (to the count of 4)


Neutral – This is when no gear is selected. Select neutral when you stop and secure the car.

1st Gear – This gear is normally used for starting to move the car. It is used for speeds up to 10 mph

2nd Gear – This gear can be used to move away downhill. It is used for speeds 10 to 20 mph

3rd Gear – This gear is used for speeds above 20 mph

4th Gear – This gear is used for speeds above 30 mph

5th Gear – This gear is used for speeds above 50 mph.

Reverse Gear – this gear is used to drive backwards.

You must always select this gear to drive backwards, even if you are able to roll downhill.

When reverse gear is selected, warning lights display at the back of the car.



When changing up or down gears it is not necessary to go through them in order.

It is acceptable and actually recommended to miss out a gear.

This is known as Block Gear Changes.

When reducing speed, you can use the ‘Brakes to Slow…Gears to Go!’ rule.

This means that you will reduce speed using your brake pedal, then, when you want to drive again, select the appropriate gear for the speed you are now going.

For example:
You are driving at 40 mph in 4th gear
You approach a roundabout
It’s a very busy roundabout
You brake and reduce speed to 5 mph
You go directly into 1st gear and keep moving

In this example, you have missed out 2 gears, going directly from the gear you’re in to the gear you need!

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