When at a stop light in an automatic car and I engage the hand brake, should I change the gear from D?

  1. In the UK we're taught to put the car in neutral and use the handbrake when we know we're going to be stopped for more than a minute or two. The primary reason is that if you accidentally remove your foot from the pedals, for example if you're hit from behind, then your car is going to move forwards, out of your control.

  2. This is what I do as well, however my car has a function called "auto hold" which allows you to release the break and the car will hold the break for you until you press the gas pedal. When "auto hold" is activated I can see that the parking break light is on in my dashboard, please note that I have an electric parking break.

  3. Both are fine options. If I know I'll have to break for a longer period of time on a hill like Infrastructure I'll just put the hand break on with the gear in neutral. But other times I could just hit the break instead, really just depends

  4. About 10 years ago, I was driving a manual, and it's always been my habit to engage the hand brake whenever I'm at a red light. Got rear ended. The only reason I didn't hit the car in front was the hand brake.

  5. Don't touch the hand brake. Dont change gears. Just keep your foot on the pedal brake until the light is green.

  6. In Sweden it mandatory to have your car in gear at a red-light. Because you have to be able to quickly make way for emergency vehicles. No handbrake at all. Only when you park, in a slope for example.

  7. The hand brake on most cars is just the rear brakes, it's okay to put the hand brake in place while stopped at a light, even though most people don't.

  8. You should clarify in the op that you’re UK as y’all teach to do this in driving per your road culture where as we don’t. Americans who aren’t familiar with your driving habits are just going to keep commenting as though your country should drive like ours.

  9. Not only is it considered rude in the UK, but is actually in the General Rules of the Highway Code, Requirement 114: "You MUST NOT use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users. In stationary queues of traffic, drivers should apply the parking brake and, once the following traffic has stopped, take their foot off the footbrake to deactivate the vehicle brake lights. This will minimise glare to road users behind until the traffic moves again. Law RVLR reg 27"

  10. No it weird for the rest of Europe too. Apparently this is as UK as driving on the wrong left side of the road.

  11. Any automatic i've ever driven has had a parkbreak built into the P "gear", and i dont see Why anyone would bother pulling and unleasing the handbrake when its so much easier to just put it into P, and Then straight back to D when you expect the lights to change soon.

  12. My regular brakes work fine. You are recommended to engage the hand brake at a traffic light in case someone bumps into you. If you only had the foot brake engaged your foot could slip off and you then roll forward

  13. But then your brake lights are needlessly blinding the people stopped behind you. You can just put the car in park and relax your foot instead of annoying both you and whoever is stuck behind you.

  14. How long are the traffic lights where you are? I have seen some long ones but never enough to put the car in park. Even in a manual I would just hold the clutch down with it in first gear

  15. There are some junctions where the lights are red for about 3 minutes where I live in England. It'll be a 4 way junction where each junction can go straight, left or right so three junctions will be red whilst one is green. Then, you might be really lucky to get the one junction where it's only green for a few seconds to allow just a few cars through but the others are green for much longer, so you can be stuck for quite a while waiting to get past the lights. If you drive in city centres the traffic is usually very heavy and barely moving, it's uncomfortable to sit with your foot on the brake for an hour.

  16. If its long enough, I'll put the car in park. This is especially true if I'm caught at a railroad crossing or raised bridge.

  17. Using the hand brake is a fairly bad idea. That break is designed to keep the car from rolling, and not much else. Your main brakes are far stronger and your foot should firmly be on them at the light.

  18. As a continental European who has rarely driven anything but manual shift vehicles, the hand brake is reserved for three uses.

  19. using a parking brake for a hill start? you might just need to learn to drive a manual better lol. its a parking brake. thats it. and also for the ladies i guess

  20. Where I live, if you put a car in park, turn off the engine, or anything like that at a red light, you could be cited for obstructing traffic. Just press the brake peddle until the light changes.

  21. I was taught to always use hand brake while stopped in a manual. The reason was if someone crashes into the back of you while you are stationary you are likely to lift your foot off the brakes and you could roll forward causing another crash

  22. I have never engaged the handbrake at a light in my life. Never heard of anyone doing that. Not in a manual or automatic. In an automatic you just leave it in drive and press the brake pedal. In a manual you put it in neutral and press the brake pedal.

  23. Used to be taught to put handbrake on and gear in neutral when waiting at lights. Then into 1st clutch up to bite then drop handbrake. Manual car UK

  24. The only time I've ever engaged the hand brake at a stop light was when I was stopped on a steep hill, and the car would roll back if I took my foot off the brake. This typically only happens with a stick, but I've had to use my hand brake driving an automatic in San Francisco.

  25. Leave it on D, no need for the handbrake. Come to think of it, even when I drove a manual I never used the hand brake at stoplights. Only when parked, especially on steep hills. The regular brake pedal is good enough for stop signs and lights.

  26. I have never ever heard of someone using a handbrake other than while parked. That’s super weird and I feel like that would be a traffic violation. You are at a light, you are still driving, leave it in drive and use the brake pedal and keep paying attention to what’s going on around you. I put it in park if I’m waiting for a train (5+min in my area, usually), and turn off the engine so I don’t waste fuel and blow exhaust fumes around for no reason. No hand brake though.

  27. You use it when you're trying to do that "spin around and immediately start going the other way" move from the movies.

  28. Nope, no need to shift from drive, or even to engage the hand brake. Just keep your foot on the brake pedal until it's time to go.

  29. No. Just keep foot on the brake and stay in Drive. Changing gears has no benefit and you will eventually screw up, forget and be in N and drift back into someone or even worse Reverse into them.

  30. Think so, they ended up saying they hoped to find out the correct procedure for an automatic in this sub and then stated “Was I wrong!” after expressing that thought.

  31. I would just keep in D no hand brake and wait for the light to change. I can see how driving manual would have influenced your method

  32. I own a manual and keep the break down and clutch down and in gear at a light. When I've driven automatic vehicles I just hold my foot on the break pedal and it in D

  33. You don’t have to do any of that or change anything. Literally just hold down the brake pedal until you’re ready to start moving again. You leave the car in D until you’re ready to park.

  34. Manual: brake, sometime during braking put car in neutral, take foot off clutch, sit at red light with foot on brake, switch into first when ready to go again

  35. In an automatic you only use the hand brake if parking on a significant incline or changing a tire.

  36. Putting a car in neutral is the same with automatic and manual. When i drove my car once in awhile I'd put it in neutral from D, while still heading towards a red light in a automatic car, or I'd sit at the red with it on neutral, my car not moving of course, and not pressing on the brake. ... then when the light turns green i just pull it down into drive.

  37. A lot of other people have already said it, but it’s important enough that I will repeat it. You should not be engaging the handbrake while stopped at a light.

  38. I use the handbrake on my manual too, but on an automatic it's pretty much never used. When driving just leave it in drive and keep your foot on the brake. If you need to move your foot, put the car all the way in park, adjust, then back in drive. When parking, just put it in park. No need to use the hand brake too. Only time I've ever touched it was when parking on a steep hill.

  39. There is zero reason to ever use a hand brake in a modern automatic car unless you are parking on a hill (and even then it's really not needed) or your brakes fail for some reason.

  40. Dont use the hand break unless you’re in the hills of San Francisco which is a bitch for manual transmission.

  41. Changing gears while the car is running does not hurt the vehicle unless you are moving and switch to reverse which is hell on the transmission. There is a reason you have Drive, Low, and Neutral. In 98% of cases if you are moving forward in an Automatic, Drive is fine. Low will keep your car in a lower gear for increased towing power and if going down hill will keep your car from accelerating to much so that you do not destroy your brakes from overheating. Neutral is for when the need arises that you need to be towed so that your wheels are free to move without resistance from the transmission but can be used to coast as long as you do not depress the accelerator and shoot your RPMs into red zones.

  42. Don’t change the gear. And just use the foot break. There is no reason to put on the hand break at a stoplight.

  43. yes you can use the handbrake at a light, leaving it in D is safer and is the same engine and transmission wise as using the foot pedal, no difference, Idk what everyone saying, not a big deal

  44. This is nuts. Hand brake is for when you park, and to use when you are on a steep hill if you have a clutch. Who in the world uses a parking brake at a stop light? Guaranteed rear end accident in your future.

  45. All these people saying they've never used a parking brake at a set if traffic lights have obviously never been stuck at a 4-way set of temp lights for almost 10 mins during roadworks! I drive a manual and was taught that for any stoppage of more than a minute or two the hand brake should be put on and the car put into neutral - both for safety if someone ran into you from behind, but also to stop the increased risk of your feet slipping from sitting with the car on the bite point for an extended period. It might be different with automatic as it only involves the use of one foot, but that's the certainly way I was taught to drive a manual in 2008/2009

  46. What do you mean on the bite point? If you’re sitting that long your foot shouldn’t be on the clutch pedal and the car should be in neutral. Sitting with the clutch pressed in for an extended time will cause increased wear on the throw out bearing.

  47. No you don’t need to put it in drive. You just use the foot brake and if you were to get hit from behind at the stop - being able to move will lessen your personal impact. No need for the hand brake (which is the parking/ emergency brake).

  48. No, and you shouldn't be using the hand brake unless you're parking. Put it in D and use the brake pedal.

  49. As someone who transitioned from manual to automatic too, I also continued to use the hand brake for a bit until and got many funny looks for it. Then I stopped. It’s not necessary.

  50. The car doesn't automatically shift into neutral. What is happening is that there isn't enough torque being applied to the transmission to overcome the resistance of the brake. The transmission is still trying to turn the wheels but since it can't move, the rotational energy of the engine gets absorbed in the torque converter. It may sound like semantics, since the effect is the same, but shifting into neutral is a different process within the transmission.

  51. The reason you see so many clips of people smashing their cars into shop fronts and houses is precisely because they sit with their foot on the brake and keep the car in drive. They forget, take their foot off the brake and car drives away, sometimes without them in the car. Sometimes they then panic, slam their foot on the brake, but miss and hit the accelerator instead.

  52. That's the worst option. Park shift locks the engine with a small stick, and a small bump from another car could break that. Park should only be activated after engaging the handbrake and releasing the foot brakes, and the car comes to a stop in a parking space.

  53. The handbrake is for parking, maybe for starting on inclines when you first get started driving. It's essentially useless in an automatic car because they have 'Park'. The handbrake is never for stop lights; even in a manual you just put it in neutral and hold the foot brake. In an automatic car you just use the foot brake; no need to put it in park*.

  54. This is a stupid question indeed itd a hybrid my dude, I bet it has an auto stop engine when you brake so changing gears it's not necessary, stay in D and apply hand brake if thats your thing, I guess yeah but not really necessary

  55. Take it of D and put in P(park) + use handbrake as well. I use Grandi10 so it has creep function, the moment I move it to D, so it is not advisable to put it in D and handbrake. Not sure of yours, but good practice is to put it in P and Handbrake.

  56. people who say to hold the brake pedal - do you enjoy your eyes burned from looking at the brake lights from the car in front of you?

  57. As many others have said, don’t use the handbrake at traffic lights. However, if this is being taught in the UK then idk. If you’re going to continue doing this then, like a manual car, you should put the transmission into neutral. In automatic cars, even with your foot off the gas, D (drive) will always have a little power going to the wheel, just like a manual car with the clutch engaged (but foot also off the gas). So if your handbrake is on and your car is in D, there is power being applied that the handbrake is fighting. That’s a recipe for disaster - but so is having the handbrake engaged at a traffic light no matter what position the transmission is in. Perhaps the UK is teaching this with manual cars - since your foot is either going to be pressing the clutch in, disengaging power, or you’re going to have the stick in neutral, again, disengaging power.

  58. don't over think it, If you are waiting for extended periods of time then instructors normally advise to use the hand break, but they will never tell you to go into park. If you have already passed your test then, do what makes you feel comfortable. I imagine you will get bored very quickly of putting the hand break on everytime, but you do you.

  59. It may depend on the type of auto. Mine is the twin clutch type. If I leave it in drive when stopped for a while on a hot day, I get slight clutch judder when moving off. So put it in park when stopped for a while - even at traffic lights. Which also saves dazzling those behind with the brake lights at night.

  60. Just hold the brake pedal, or if you want to let your foot have a short rest, switch the gear to P then release your foot. Not necessary to turn on hand brake.

  61. The benefit of driving an automatic vehicle is that, unlike a manual, you don't have to go through a 24-step process to stop and accelerate.

  62. Does your car have an electronic parking brake? Because most have an automatic brake hold feature that will hold your car once you come to a complete stop, and will disengage once you hit the gas pedal.

  63. On my golf 7 i got the "auto break" which means I can release my foot from the break pedal and that's it, hit it when it turns green

  64. Idk what is with all of these people freaking out over your question and thoughts, but you can do whatever makes you feel safe, there's nothing wrong with it. Though IMHO the handbrake is unnecessary step and adds to the steps it takes to get moving again.

  65. Even when I drove a manual I never used the parking brake at a red light. I just put it in neutral and kept my foot on the brake pedal. Is it customary outside the U.S. to engage the parking brake at stop lights? I never saw anybody doing it when I was stationed in the UK.

  66. If its for a short period 1 to 3 mins. I would say keep gear in D and hold the brake. If its longer than that put it in N and handbrake or press brake pedal.

  67. Just keep your foot on the brake and stay in D. If you are stopped at a train, you might want to put it in P because it's gonna take forever, but mainly just stay in D.

  68. The torque converter does all the work for you. Foot off gas and on brake. Foot off brake and on gas. For the love of God don't brake with your left foot.

  69. How long are your traffic lights? If you have time to put the car in a different gear and put hand brake on and off that’s insane. Just hold your foot on the brake for a few seconds.

  70. Don't ever put the car in park unless you are stopping the engine and getting out! If your car stalls and won't re start then the front (or driving) wheels will be locked and you won't be able to push it out of the way if needed.

  71. Keep your foot on the brake pedal. Some electric vehicles (not sure about hybrid) will allow you to press the brake pedal in further in order to temporarily turn the engine off.

  72. I know of 2 types of hand brakes. 1 is electric & the other mechanical. The electric actuates a cylinder to put pressure on the inside of the rotor so that it won't turn. The mechanical opens a spring that pushes the brake pads against the rotor. Both are designed to work in the event you lose hydraulic pressure from your brake system. Neither one actually connects to the transmission. Changing gears is up to you. I don't see a point in it. (This is based on rear wheel drive. Front wheel transaxle may be completely different.)

  73. Honestly you shouldn't do either. But by no means do you want to put on the handbrake while the vehicle is in drive. Just keep your foot on the brake and don't fiddle with anything else.

  74. "Most people who drive manual in the UK and Ireland when stopped at stopped at traffic lights put the hand brake on" is exactly as fictional as "Brexit is a good idea"

  75. I often put my manual in neutral when at lights but i have a pretty quick reaction time and consider myself attentive.

  76. It is strange you’re using a hand brake at a stop light, but to each his own. Drove a manual for years, floor brake is all I engaged at a traffic stop. Same for automatic car. Was always taught the hand brake is for parking….

  77. You dont need to engage the hand brake in an automatic because they dont roll back. And u never change from D. Just leave it in D all the time when you drive.

  78. I just wait. If I'm in the cruise mode the car slows then stops and the display indicates "Waiting" until the car in front move, then after a delay my car goes forward. If you are in the lead position at the stop you have to step on the brake which takes the car out of cruise.

  79. When I use a automatic car I usually change to N if I'm in red light, but that may be for influence since usually I drive manual and most of the times I change to neutral when I stop in traffic lights.

  80. The way it is taught in Lithuania, parking brake is for parking and maaaybe starting on a sharp incline. You shouldn't be using it at a traffic light. Moreover, there is no point in switching to neutral in an automatic either. Just hold the brake pedal depressed.

  81. Just keep your foot on the brake that's it. No need to change gears or anything. If your car is new enough it will have hill decent which will keep you from rolling back on a hill.

  82. I don't even do that in a manual lol. Just press the clutch and hold the brake you need to keep that brake light on so you don't get rear ended. In an automatic just hold the brake no gear movement required

  83. You were wrong when you did it in your manual and it's wrong to do it in an automatic. Just use your regular brake... why would you engage parking brake if you're not parked?

  84. Used to drive manual for many years also. If you want a similar effect to manual, put it in neutral + hand break (or foot, whatever). Easy to put it back in drive while taking off the break. I've done this a few times in heavy traffic or on long trips (or both), when the leg starts to cramp.

  85. Yeah nah, no need to get out and do the hokey pokey at a red light my friend. Use the brake pedal. Save the parking/emergency brake for, you know... parking and emergencies.

  86. Automatic cars are programmed to move forward by default on D position, so if you keep D on you have to engage brakes or handbrake which strains the car in many ways, which is stupid in first place to halt the car while it should be moving as programmed, so when you enter a traffic light (specially a long one) after you totally stop in your line use the handbrake and switch to N position, and before the line goes on with few second go back to D and remove the handbrake.

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