How to Brake in Manual Car: The Correct Methods

Driving a car with a manual gearbox is not as easy as its automatic counterpart. You have to learn the art of driving a stick shift thoroughly before hitting the road. Given that, one of the skills that you need to master is to know how to brake in manual car.

Most learners stay confused because manual cars have three pedals for braking. It is somewhat difficult and needs lots of practice to learn the right use of brake, clutch, and accelerator.

How to Brake in Manual Car?

The clutch pedal is the component that makes braking in a manual car more difficult than an automatic. The brake pedal does the job of losing speed and the accelerator does the opposite. The clutch, on the other hand, disconnects the engine from the wheels. You have to know which pedal to press after which in different driving scenarios to learn how to brake in manual car.

braking in a manual car
A manual car has three braking pedals. Source: Moneyshake

1. Slowing Down to a Normal Stop From a High Speed

Driving a car at 70kmph or more means that it is at the top gear. You cannot stop the engine in the same gear until it slows down, dropping the speed under 40kmph. What you need to do is to apply the brake without clutch until the speed drops. Then shift the transmission to the fourth gear and release the clutch. Keep pressing the brake until the auto reaches a low speed (say 20kmph) and then apply the clutch to stop the vehicle completely.

If you are driving at a low speed, just press the brake pedal until the vehicle reaches 25 or 20kmph and then apply the clutch to stop it.

2. Emergency Stop

The most important rule for emergency or panic braking is not to touch the clutch. You have to use the optimum engine braking despite taking the risk of stalling the engine. Don’t lower the gear even if you are driving at a very high speed.

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3. Stopping in a Rally Circuit

You have to apply the brake first when trying to stop the car on a track. Engage the clutch and downshift gears when the vehicle is close to the in-gear idle. After finishing the shifting, re-engage the clutch.

4. Pulling Over at the Traffic Light

Most drivers prefer saving fuel to engine braking in that case. So, you can press the clutch and brake pedals at the same time. If the car has a deceleration fuel cutoff (DFCO) technology, there is no need to use the clutch.

how to brake in manual car
Never press the clutch first while stopping a manual car. Source: Top Speed

5. When Driving Downhill

Novice learners remain confused about how to brake in manual car when going downhill because there are so many theories. Well, the simplest way to do it is to shift the gear to one level higher than what you used at the time of going uphill. Then, press the brake pedal without touching the clutch.

Watch the video below to know How to stop a Manual Car in detail:  

The Final Words

Remember not to use the clutch before braking in any driving situation. You should engage the clutch pedal only when shifting gears and the car is close to a dead stop. Otherwise, avoiding the clutch will help with having better control over the wheels, allowing using the engine resistance for braking, and saving fuel.