Tag Archives: Manual vs automatic transmission

The number 1 cause of road crashes and fatalities


 

ABC Manual pedals

Were you taught or are you currently teaching someone to use ABC or ACB method when preparing to stop the vehicle? You could be putting yourself or someone in danger if you use the ACB method.

That we have a crisis on our roads is no longer a secret judging by the number of emergency vehicles that we daily see or hear responding to “accidents” and the number of cars driven with an L sign on the back windows.

Our roads are like mini war zones and survival is purely depended on luck for most “licensed” drivers due to lack of knowledge and skills on how to operate their vehicles safely.

Most learner drivers do not worry much about being competent drivers; they instead focus most of their attention towards getting the driver’s licenses quickly. What they fail to understand is that a license does not give one experience, it merely permits one to drive a vehicle legally on road.

One thing for sure, figures do not lie and the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety report found on the Arrive Alive website contains two graphs listed below that caught our eyes. They both confirm what we already know, that our roads are not safe due to drivers’ and pedestrians’ lack of knowledge and total disregard of rules of the road.

These graphs clearly show that if people can prioritize receiving quality driver training instead of just being happy to acquire driver’s licenses, we could save lives. We must bear in mind that we daily lose students, professionals and business people in road fatalities most of whom are active participants in our economy.

Fatalities percentage

The report states that 82.84% of road fatalities are caused by human factors, which includes:

  • Excessive speed and ignoring of speed limits.
  • Pedestrians jaywalking, not using pedestrian facilities or ignoring traffic signals and signs.
  • Unsafe and unlawful overtaking across barrier lines leading to high impact crashes and fatalities.

Fatalities per country

South Africa seems to lead other countries for all the wrong reasons and we should not be proud to have high numbers of road deaths because people are not replaceable.

“The rates in the graph above show that the RSA recorded the highest rate, 27.9 in 2009 in comparison with a rate of 22.0 for Botswana and a rate of 3.0 for Ethiopia. Comparing the four BRICS (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) countries in the graph above shows that RSA still recorded the highest rate followed by Brazil”, states the report.

As a driving school that has been operating for more than 7 years, we know that the major problem is caused by the way we operate the three pedals. The Clutch, foot Brake and Accelerator  form the ABC system of control, which is the correct way of slowing and eventually stopping the vehicle.

If you were to ask most licensed drivers what is the purpose of a foot brake, most will say it stops the vehicle, which is half-truth. However, the real purpose of the foot brake is to slow the vehicle and eventually stop it.

Most driving schools do not teach their learners the correct sequence of operating the three pedals (ABC) to prepare to stop the vehicle, which the one cause of most road crashes. They instead use the ACB method, which is a quick way of teaching a learner to stop but highly dangerous during emergencies.

THE 3 STEP ABC METHOD OF PREPARING TO STOP THE VEHICLE (CORRECT)

Step 1: Remove the right foot from Accelerator.

Step 2:  Gently press the foot Brake to slow the vehicle down.

Step 3: Press in the Clutch pedal just before the vehicle stops with the brake.

This is the correct and safe way of driving the vehicle but very few driving schools teach this method because it is “time-consuming”.

THE 3 STEP ACB METHOD OF PREPARING TO STOP THE VEHICLE (INCORRECT)

Step 1: Remove the right foot from Accelerator.

Step 2: Press in the Clutch pedal with your left foot.

Step 3: Press in the foot Brake to slow and stop the vehicle.

Looking at most crash/accident scenes, one can hardly see any tyre marks before the collision which clearly prove that a clutch was use first before the foot brake was applied hence most vehicles get written off due to the high force of impact.  

Through our refresher driver training we are able to retrain the licensed drivers to correctly use the pedals and be able to defend themselves during emergency situations.

 

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Difference between an automatic and a manual vehicle


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By just looking at the two vehicles one cannot immediately tell which one is an automatic or manually driven vehicle until one enters the vehicles. There are differences between the two in terms of  how to operate them and the license type that is issued after the test.

MANUAL VEHICLE

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Manual simply mean that you as a driver have to physically change the gears of the vehicle in order to move fast or slow. The clutch pedal on the left and gear lever has to continuously be used. The gears cannot be selected without pressing the clutch pedal completely and once the vehicle start moving, the gear ratio must correspond with the speed at which you are travelling and this you must be properly taught by going to a credible driving school.

Advantages of driving a manual vehicle

  • The license allows you to also drive an auto vehicle
  • It is cheap to buy
  • Good fuel efficiency
  • Less maintenance required
  • Driver has more control over the vehicle’s performance

Disadvantages of a manual vehicle

  • It is difficult to drive in heavy traffic
  • Wear of clutch and gearbox are quicker if badly operated due to bad driving
  • More skills are required to drive it.

AUTOMATIC OPERATING VEHICLE

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Beside the difference in gear lever types, an automatic vehicle doesn’t have a clutch pedal making it the easiest vehicle to drive. This vehicle doesn’t need your interference when it comes to changing of gears as it does it for you. Your task is simply to select the direction of movement either reverse (R) when you want to go backward or (D) if you want to go forward and then press the accelerator pedal to start moving. Before leaving the vehicle put the gear lever on (P) to park your vehicle and apply the hand brake. The accelerator pedal is much more sensitive and most people have caused unnecessary accidents/crashes hence gently pressing it is so important.

Advantages of driving an automatic vehicle

  • It is easy to learn to drive
  • It is fun to drive in heavy traffic
  • Gear changing is easy as it is done automatically
  •  No wear of clutch

Disadvantages of an automatic vehicles

  • You cannot drive a manual vehicle with an auto license
  • It is expensive to buy
  • It is lesser fuel efficient
  • Maintenance cost is high
  • It can disable your left foot from operating a clutch pedal

Even though most car manufacturers are slowly moving to automatic vehicles, it is very important to do a manual license test as it will allow you to drive both vehicle. You will receive a traffic fine, should the traffic officers find you driving a manual vehicle with an auto license.