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Travelling for long distances in neutral (known as coasting)

A reduces the driver’s control

Coasting, is the term used when the clutch is held down, or the gear lever is in neutral, and the vehicle is allowed to freewheel. This reduces the driver’s control of the vehicle. When you coast, the engine can’t drive the wheels to pull you through a corner. Coasting also removes the assistance of engine braking that helps to slow the car.

Related Information

What is coasting when driving?
Coasting successfully implies moving easily without exerting any effort. It is also known as traveling or driving in neutral. Coasting is the process of driving an automobile downhill while either the clutch or the gear shift is depressed - or both at the same time. Coasting is also known as freewheeling at times.
What can result when coasting?
Coasting in a car easily happens when turning corners or emerging from crossroads, as you are compelled to move down to a lower gear rapidly. Drivers frequently do not provide enough time before making a turn to change gears and completely release the clutch.

Why is coasting a bad driving technique?
There are several reasons why coasting is bad, whether it is coasting downhill, coasting to stop, or coasting in any other situation.
You accelerate faster and travel farther than you would normally.
You have less control since you can't regulate speed through engine braking because driving in neutral disconnects the engine from the wheels.
It becomes more difficult to take a safe, steady line around a bend, giving you less control if you cross the path of another road user or other hazard.
If you have to re-engage the gears in order to react to a risk, you'll have less time to do so compared to if you were coasting.
In this situation, rather than taking power from the wheels, it requires a small quantity of fuel to keep the engine running - basically "idling."
So coasting in neutral during long trips is not recommended.

Is coasting when driving illegal?
No. There is no explicit law in the UK that forbids someone from coasting downhill. However, if you were involved in an accident caused by neutral driving, you could argue that the driver was not in control of the car, which would be illegal.



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