Vehicles stop too close behind mine at a red light on an incline. WWYD?

I drive a manual transmission stick vehicle. On inclines, hill assist usually holds me until I move forward. But hill assist does not always activate on less steep inclines, so I’ll roll back a bit before moving forward.

Sometimes when I’m stopped at a red light on an incline, an approaching vehicle stops very close behind me. Definitely not a reasonable distance for an incline. If my hill assist didn’t activate, I would’ve rolled back and bumped into the car. I have been fortunate so far. Open to suggestions.

How would you handle the situation if a vehicle is too close behind at a red light on an incline and hill assist might not activate?

Here is what I’m thinking of trying…
Turn on my hazard lights, don’t move, and motion with hand out the window for others to pass. Let the trailing vehicle back up and go around me.

What would you do WWYD?

Stopping on a hill with a manual transmission was actually part of my driver’s test in Albany, NY, in 1966.

This is how I was taught to do it…

During the Road Test, I had to stop on the hill, I then applied the emergency or parking brake (whatever you call it), then I was required to put the car into neutral, release the clutch and foot brake and place both feet flat on the floor…

The Tester then told me to get the car moving again without rolling backward on the hill when the light turned Green…

And this is how to do it, with the parking brake holding the car stationary on the hill, push the clutch in and place the car into 1st,

When the light turns Green, while applying a little gas, you let the clutch out a bit until the engine stars to lug.

Now you release the parking brake and you simple finish giving it some gas and finish releasing the clutch…

Now, you only need to use the hand brake (parking brake) and you do not need to put the car into neutral to prove the car is not rolling back… That was part of the road test… like “print your name on the top right corner of the paper…”

I was also tested on “Hand Signals” on the written test… Can you say, “Whoa Bessie…?”

Also, one final Teachable moment, if you have the occasion to push start your manual transmission car, you do not put it into 1st ans pop the clutch, it will don one or two things, the tires will simple lock up, and not start the engine, or car will start and immediately stall…

You put the transmission into 2nd, and when you pop the clutch, you immedatily push it back in so the engine does not bog and stall…

Now, go to this web page and read the whole thing… You will be a better and safer driver…


The parking brake won’t hold well. Not well enough to count on.

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Parking brake doesn’t have to hold the car for any length of time. You set it with your foot still on the service brake, then quickly accelerate away from a stop, pretty much as normal, but releasing the parking brake as soon as the clutch starts to catch. The parking brake will keep the car from drifting even a few inches when done correctly.

That’s how I was taught. Practice it for a while, it’ll become second nature.


I drove my friends 2017 Vette with a 7-speed manual. It has a hill assist feature. Which I needed since I hadn’t driven a manual since 2005.

It sounds insensitive, but, learn not to roll back when you start.

You’ve not had to learn that important skill because of the hill holder assist. It is a normal part of driving a manual. Not sure if you turn hill holder off, but if you can, turn it off and practice in a sloped parking lot.


How I learned from my parents, as you move your right foot from the brake to the gas, let the clutch out with your right foot. I did it that way, never rolled backwards.

After six years of driving was required to obtain a military drivers license. When given an on road driving test was required to do a start on a hill, military said to use the hand/emergency brake method. Test vehicle provided was an AMC station wagon with three on the tree and hand brake operated with left hand.
Most, but not all, vehicles now use a hand brake lever on the center console right below the shift lever, making that method easier. I can not recall if I ever used that method, even in mountain driving. Never rolled backwards on a hill start.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect, just slow the roll until the clutch is engaged enough to avoid tapping the greater fool behind you.

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To be blunt, sounds like you never learned how to drive a stick… If you can’t start off on a hill with out a computer helping you, then you probably should be driving an automatic…
My wife, son and myself all drive sticks… None have hill assist… My son took his drivers test in a stick… lol

That being said, here is are a few sticker ideas that you probably require… Amazon has all kinds…
Or google “I drive a manual sticker


I agree with the others who say you need to learn how to drive a stick without depending on any hill assist or use of the parking brake.

You’ll soon find you can handle any hill without rolling backwards.

My wife, son and myself all drive sticks… None have hill assist…

May I ask WWYD while driving your non-hill assist vehicle if the car behind was practically touching your bumper at a red light on a steep incline? Would you use the parking brake method described in this thread? Thanks.

I have fast feet. I drove manuals for 40 years. It was a skill I developed.

A side note… people are rarely if ever as close as you think they are. They are not inches away from your bumper, they just appear that way in your mirrors.


A side note… people are rarely if ever as close as you think they are. They are not inches away from your bumper, they just appear that way in your mirrors.

Correct. I’m asking this part (about the other car hypothetically being just an inch away) to find out how to handle that extreme situation if didn’t have any hill assist feature. I’m learning. Thank you.

Two of my three vehicles have manual transmissions. Hill starts are just part of the deal, You shouldn’t need to rely on a hill holder feature to start on an incline. You just need to to be quicker with your feet and modulate the clutch and accelerator pedal more aggressively than you’re probably currently doing in such situations so that you don’t roll back.


Thank you. I’ll practice on a hill with no traffic around.

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then you use their bumper as your hill assist. :rofl: :rofl:

seriously though, if you aren’t comfortable, throw on the flashers and let them go around. Don’t let someone else pressure you into an accident.


When the light turns green I ‘feather’ (partially release) the clutch just enough to hold the car as my other foot goes from brake to gas. Practice that.


I used to like rolling back a bit as the car behind pulls up under certain conditions where I knew it was going to be more difficult than normal to not roll back at all. Most people would get the hint immediately and stay back a bit more than they might otherwise but there’s always the clueless, self-centered types that want to snuggle up to your bumper. Although I could almost always handle any hill, it would sometimes be fun to watch their expression in the rear view mirror if I allowed some roll back before taking off. They can get pretty animated. :grinning:


I suggest you find a parking lot with an incline, or a street with no traffic and an incline and practice @texases method.

It is easier to do with modern cars because of the IAC (idle air control) valve. You slowly let out the clutch to the friction point and as engine RPMs start to drop, the IAC will let in more air and the feedback loop will add more gas.

It wont take long to learn this technique. It was much harder to do back in the days of carburetors when I learned how to drive a clutch.


I think you mean left foot. It seems like half a second is enough time to stall the engine, which is how long it takes to move from the brake to the throttle. What about letting the clutch out just a little until the engine slows, and then moving to the throttle? It seems stop roll back completely on most hills, and the roll back is much less on steeper ones.

In another discussion on this topic, someone suggested hanging a flag out the back. It seems to make people stay farther back.