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Putting an automatic in neutral when at the lights.

  #1  
Old 07-25-2011, 04:40 PM
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Default Putting an automatic in neutral when at the lights.

As I live in the UK and the majoritory of cars are manual. I have just purchased a Grand Voyager (T&C) and thought I would look up any driving tips for automatic cars.

The major point that seems to always pop up on the UK sites is to put the car in neutral at the lights and the handbrake (emergency brake) on. This is the procedure as taught by driving instructors with one of the reasons being that keeping the foot brake on can blind other drivers in the dark.

I myself can't see how lights would blind someone but I've been wrong before.

So I was just wondering If anyone could shed some light on this as I would love to know what the best procedure is.

P.S. I so much prefer automatics, I wish I had switched from a manual years ago. No more having to keep using my left leg nonstop, or having to deal with hill starts or stalling when the kids have knocked the gearstick into gear before I start it.
 
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:11 PM
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Its not going to hurt the transmission or the clutches in the transmission. I know that was the reason with manual transmission put in neutral at stop lights. I still use both feet for driving, left foot braking and right foot gas. Works fine for me and don't need the park brake at lights.
 
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:14 PM
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Ask yourself how many times you've been blinded by the brakelights of the car in front of you? I've been driving for over 50 years and cannot remember a single instance of that ever occurring. Red lights do not impair your night vision.
You'll do more damage to the clutches of an automatic by unnecessarily taking the car in and out of gear than you ever will by just leaving it in gear.
I'm not a fan of two-foot driving with an automatic. There's a tendency in a panic situation to tromp down hard with both feet, with obvious results. I have seen two-foot drivers step hard on the gas and regulate speed by applying greater or lesser brake pressure. I have also followed two-foot drivers for miles who ride the brake pedal constantly which besides destroying the brakes, renders the brake lights pointless.
 
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I thought It would be wiser to keep it in D and just use the foot brake but the majority of UK based car forums advocate putting it in N, the worrying thing is most are advanced drivers who teach others and are also police trainers.

And It had never even entered my mind about rear brake lights blinding the driver behind until reading all the rants about how thoughtless the drivers are and how the police should fine them.

Thanks for the information as I'm just reading a lot of car forums for as much information as I can take in as in over 20 years driving in the UK and I have never enjoyed it until I just purchased the Grand Voyager. The only negative Is I just wish they had made the a large footwell for my left foot as at the moment It has to sit under the brake, I guess they didn't make any space when they changed it to right hand drive.
 
  #5  
Old 07-30-2011, 08:17 AM
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Not convinced of actually blinding someone, but these days I have noticed a lot of newer cars in the UK appear to have ultra bright brake lights and headlights. Some have dazzled me a bit, same as what would happen when someone has really bright headlights.

I have always driven automatics, and the procedure for me at the lights is to keep it in drive and put the handbrake on. I just don't use the neutral at all. Except in the garage when perhaps having an MOT done.
 
  #6  
Old 08-02-2011, 07:22 PM
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With modern automatic transmissions, you'll find that the computers that run them are probably smarter than many of the drivers! Just leave it in gear at lights and other stops, unless it's going to be for five minutes or more, and that's just so your leg doesn't get tired. Putting the parking brake on is just insane. You're just asking to get rear-ended when the light changes to green!

I've owned British cars with manual transmissions, and it was usually pointed out in the owners manual that at times when you stop for long periods of time, you should put the vehicle into neutral and let off on the clutch so that you don't wear out the 'throw-out' bearing. (I had that happen to me on an MG once, and had to drive home with the clutch making a horrendous noise each time I had to depress the clutch!)

I've also been driving for almost fifty years, and I've never heard of that practice being taught in Britain. It's really just nonsense for them to teach that kind of driving!
 
  #7  
Old 08-08-2011, 03:01 PM
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The reason for putting the vehicle into neutral is nothing to do with your lights. It's quoted as a safety measure. In the event that your foot were to slide from the brake pedal to the accellerator... anyone passing in front of you would be at risk and you would be likely to end up colliding with someone ele's vehicle. By placing the vehicle in neutral the chances of you inadvertantly moving forward are greatly reduced.

That's the thinking behind it... of course we don't all do it but there ya go!
 
  #8  
Old 08-09-2011, 06:25 AM
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But it would make more sense to just put the handbrake on so your feet aren't putting any pressure on a pedal so they cannot slip surely?
 
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by spiers View Post
But it would make more sense to just put the handbrake on so your feet aren't putting any pressure on a pedal so they cannot slip surely?
bearing in mind that the parking brake in a british vehicle is not foot operated... and also bearing in mind that applying a parking brake does not preclude the vehicle from moving forward if it is in drive and the revs are raised high enough... the safest course of action has been deemed as putting the vehicle in park when at traffic lights and stationary; though newtral runs a close second.

Having no chance of moving forward is preferable to having some chance of moving forward.
 
  #10  
Old 08-09-2011, 05:27 PM
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If you were at the lights and put it into P and someone hit into you from behind it is my limited understanding that it will be an expensive repair.

I guess I will just be 'wild' and keep my foot on the brake.
 

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