To start moving up a hill, most drivers in Bhutan release the clutch while shifting quickly from the brake to the gas in order to rev up the engine. This is not the correct way of doing it. It is, however, a sure way to dramatically shorten the life of the clutch, as well as increase the chances of shutting down the engine, or causing the car to start rolling backwards...
The proper hill-starting of a car involves a third control: the hand-brake (also known as a parking-brake). Here's how it works:
To stop up hill (temporarily):
- Brake as usual.
- Once the clutch and brake are fully depressed, pull up the hand-brake. This will hold your car in place - no rolling backwards! Release the brake pedal if you wish.
- Shift to first gear.
To start moving again:
- Release the clutch a little while gently pressing on the accelerator. As some point, the car will tilt a tiny bit forward. It's ready to move, but it won't, because the hand-brake keeps it in place.
- Now here's the tricky part: Release the hand-brake - the car starts to move slowly forward - and simultaneously keep releasing the clutch gently until it's fully released while gradually adding more gas, and all at the same time.
This requires some practice (away from traffic, please!), but once you get the hang of it, no more rolling backward or engine shut-down. And your clutch will thank you for this!