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      04-02-2014, 04:54 PM   #1
werly
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6MT Questions about skipping gears and shifting at traffic light

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I have been searching online and asking opinions among MT owners but I have got different answers. Here are the 2 scenarios...

Scenario 1:
-doing legal speed on local road, usually 4th or 5th gear
-light turns red ahead (knowing that car would stop completely)
-into neutral and let go the clutch
-wait for the green with pressing the brake only
-green -> clutch in -> 1st gear -> clutch out and drive on...

Scenario 2:
-doing legal speed on local road, usually 4th or 5th gear
-light is already red ahead but knowing that car would NOT stop completely

-into neutral
-with clutch is still pressed (usually only for seconds because knowing that light will soon to be green), dip into 3rd or 2nd gear (skipping gear happens here) depending on the engine speed when car needs move forward again. Occasionally feeding little rev to it.
-clutch out and drive on...

So I want to know if it is the proper way to wait for a light in scenario 1 and if skipping gear is allowed in scenario 2?

Thanks a million
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      04-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werly View Post
I have been searching online and asking opinions among MT owners but I have got different answers. Here are the 2 scenarios...

Scenario 1:
-doing legal speed on local road, usually 4th or 5th gear
-light turns red ahead (knowing that car would stop completely)
-into neutral and let go the clutch
-wait for the green with pressing the brake only
-green -> clutch in -> 1st gear -> clutch out and drive on...

Scenario 2:
-doing legal speed on local road, usually 4th or 5th gear
-light is already red ahead but knowing that car would NOT stop completely

-into neutral
-with clutch is still pressed (usually only for seconds because knowing that light will soon to be green), dip into 3rd or 2nd gear (skipping gear happens here) depending on the engine speed when car needs move forward again. Occasionally feeding little rev to it.
-clutch out and drive on...

So I want to know if it is the proper way to wait for a light in scenario 1 and if skipping gear is allowed in scenario 2?

Thanks a million
I always say this: a manual transmission is pretty much just rev matching. Skipping gears is completely fine, ASSUMING you rev match. You don't need to downshift(or even upshift) one step at a time, as long as the rev is matching when clutch is released.

As far as scenario 1: It's fine to wait in neutral. I tend to anticipate when the light is about to turn green and at least get into 1st gear with clutch still depressed. HOWEVER, it is not legal to coast in neutral. So if you see the light turning red up ahead, you cannot engage neutral and coast to a stop.(legally you're not supposed to anyways, although many drivers do it)
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      04-02-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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It shouldn't be a big deal on modern MT's that have synchros but i usually try to stay in gear as much as possible and try to change gear smoothly (rev matching is important).

Your first scenario doesn't sound incorrect at all. Although i like to stay in gear for as long as possible so pretty often i go down a couple of gears before cruising to a stop, unless the stop is too abrupt.

Given your second scenario (knowing that the light will turn green), i would rev-match into a lower gear and let the combination of engine braking and braking to slow down the car enough enough to come to a coast and then just as the light turns green, i'm already in the right gear & then right foot it is.

Rev-match and stay in gear is my advice. The former executes a smooth shift without doing harm to the drivetrain when done properly, the latter allows a quicker response to the traffic environment should you suddenly need power.

Many ways to go about this. Just find your ideal driving style and enjoy the drive.
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      04-02-2014, 05:49 PM   #4
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when i come to the light, i do some crazy multi step heel toes or just heel toe directly to whatever gear i want to go in....its fun....

i like waiting at the light with NO pedals depressed (unless its a hill)..

sometimes coming to a red light way ahead of me i will do the "downshift, keep it in gear, and creep at 1mph until light turns green" method
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      04-02-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyGray View Post
it is not legal to coast in neutral. So if you see the light turning red up ahead, you cannot engage neutral and coast to a stop.(legally you're not supposed to anyways, although many drivers do it)
So when the light is turning red ahead, I assume that you downshift/rev match until braking for complete stop?

And when you come to a complete stop, do you wait in neutral or stay in gear with clutch depressed? Correct me if I am wrong but I thought hold down the clutch at the light will wear out the spring
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      04-02-2014, 07:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werly View Post
So when the light is turning red ahead, I assume that you downshift/rev match until braking for complete stop?

And when you come to a complete stop, do you wait in neutral or stay in gear with clutch depressed? Correct me if I am wrong but I thought hold down the clutch at the light will wear out the spring
It's more likely to wear out the throw-out (release bearing), not the pressure plate spring. Once the release bearing fails then the spring fingers will also be damaged. To change either part requires removing the transmission and plenty of labor cost.
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      04-02-2014, 07:11 PM   #7
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With the exhaust and the intake, rev matching in a lot of traffic scares other road users , sometimes I just put to in neutral and coast using the breaks to slow me down to a red light.

At the red light i just put it in neutral and rest my right leg for the quick shifts
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      04-02-2014, 07:35 PM   #8
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      04-02-2014, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyGray View Post
I always say this: a manual transmission is pretty much just rev matching. Skipping gears is completely fine, ASSUMING you rev match. You don't need to downshift(or even upshift) one step at a time, as long as the rev is matching when clutch is released.

As far as scenario 1: It's fine to wait in neutral. I tend to anticipate when the light is about to turn green and at least get into 1st gear with clutch still depressed. HOWEVER, it is not legal to coast in neutral. So if you see the light turning red up ahead, you cannot engage neutral and coast to a stop.(legally you're not supposed to anyways, although many drivers do it)
What law prohibits coasting in neutral?
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      04-02-2014, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
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What law prohibits coasting in neutral?
Not sure about other jurisdictions, but here in Cali.

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21710.htm
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      04-02-2014, 07:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
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What law prohibits coasting in neutral?
Use your breaks for other motorist behind to know you are slowing down
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      04-02-2014, 07:42 PM   #12
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I disagree with coasting to a stop in neutral. I prefer to be in a gear, what ever one you like, just in case I need to quickly move out of the way of a potential rear end collision, front end impact or a side swipe.
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      04-02-2014, 07:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atopa2002 View Post
Use your breaks for other motorist behind to know you are slowing down
Brakes
Its not so much an issue of other motorists to know that you're slowing down; its more of an issue of minimizing reaction times.

The argument behind laws against coasting in neutral is that a driver has less time & ability to react to sudden circumstances on the road that require immediate action such as debris, suddenly getting cut off, avoiding sudden collision, or a sudden need for acceleration/throttle input to correct a dangerous situation (i.e., sudden changes in road condition, loose gravel, hydroplaning, snow, etc.)
Being in gear allows the driver full control of a vehicle whereas coasting in neutral essentially yields a driver powerless (literally) to react.
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      04-02-2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Not sure about other jurisdictions, but here in Cali.

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21710.htm
that link says down hill grade....i take that as dont just coast and go as fast as possible just because its downhill...nothing to do with coming to a red light....


i dont coast to the redlight, i keep it in gear and let it engine brake towards the light and then just creep in 1st real slow until it turns green lol
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      04-02-2014, 07:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werly View Post
So when the light is turning red ahead, I assume that you downshift/rev match until braking for complete stop?

And when you come to a complete stop, do you wait in neutral or stay in gear with clutch depressed? Correct me if I am wrong but I thought hold down the clutch at the light will wear out the spring
I wait in neutral, if it's going to be a long light. If it's a familiar light and I can anticipate the green, I usually get ready in 1st gear.

And I do coast in neutral. So when I see a red light up ahead, gear into neutral and coast. So if I have to stop completely, I'm just depressing the brake pedal. If it turns green before I'm at a complete stop, I change to appropriate gear and rev match. I said it was illegal, didn't say I didn't do it ;-) Plus, it's only illegal if you get caught....(muahahaha)

As far as which law states that it's illegal to coast in neutral, I'm sure it varies by state. However in Wisconsin, there's a law in Wisconsin that(iirc) a driver needs to be in complete control of a moving vehicle at all times. And it goes on to state some examples and coasting in neutral is illegal.
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      04-02-2014, 07:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowSaloonM3 View Post
that link says down hill grade....i take that as dont just coast and go as fast as possible just because its downhill...nothing to do with coming to a red light....


i dont coast to the redlight, i keep it in gear and let it engine brake towards the light and then just creep in 1st real slow until it turns green lol

Here's a Municipal regulation from Milwaukie against coasting, regardless of incline/decline.


The point is, its an issue of safety & reaction times to sudden and unexpected situations. The differences in rhetoric are trivial since the reasons for its implementation are the same. Safety first.
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      04-02-2014, 07:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Here's a Municipal regulation from Milwaukie against coasting, regardless of incline/decline.


The point is, its an issue of safety & reaction times to sudden and unexpected situations. The differences in rhetoric are trivial since the reasons for its implementation are the same. Safety first.
that regulation must be a subset of a broader regulation because that is the most vague description of anything ive ever read....

regardless, my car is never in neutral except when stopped lazily at a red light...most of the time im clutch in with gear in 1st gear and looking in the rear view because some idiot might be braking all wrong lol.
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      04-02-2014, 07:56 PM   #18
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When coming to a red light I always just brake until revs drop to around idle then clutch in and neutral.
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      04-02-2014, 08:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowSaloonM3 View Post
that regulation must be a subset of a broader regulation because that is the most vague description of anything ive ever read....

regardless, my car is never in neutral except when stopped lazily at a red light...most of the time im clutch in with gear in 1st gear and looking in the rear view because some idiot might be braking all wrong lol.
Yeaa i mean, i've yet to meet anyone that has actually gotten ticketed for that so its one of those rules that are tough to enforce (if they are even enforced).

Nothing wrong with neutral at a red light as the vehicle is stationary; i do as well. Coasting, though, different story. People do it, legality is kind of grey area, but definitely not recommended as a habit.


Quote:
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When coming to a red light I always just brake until revs drop to around idle then clutch in and neutral.
Same here. Often I add a downshift or two before that but i only clutch in when the revs drop near idle.
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      04-02-2014, 08:37 PM   #20
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Use your breaks for other motorist behind to know you are slowing down
Yep, after that hit the gos to accelerate.
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      04-02-2014, 09:32 PM   #21
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I disagree with coasting to a stop in neutral. I prefer to be in a gear, what ever one you like, just in case I need to quickly move out of the way of a potential rear end collision, front end impact or a side swipe.
This.
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      04-03-2014, 01:16 AM   #22
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BTW, OP. Wesley?

Its me, Lawrence. How did i not notice before?
Hi Lawrence!
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