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How Hill-Start Control Works

Benefits of Hill-start Control
It looks like this driver could have used a hill-start control system.
It looks like this driver could have used a hill-start control system.
© Anderson

The major benefits of hill-start control should be obvious. It makes driving easier in certain situations and it can promote driving safety, too. After all, nobody wants his or her car to roll backwards down a hill. There are just too many possibilities for damage in that scenario.

But hill-start control isn't just for the benefit of the driver of the car that that's equipped with the hill-start system. It's also for the benefit of the traffic behind it. For that reason, there may eventually come a day when all cars come with hill-start control and similar safety and regulatory devices as standard equipment simply as a matter of public safety. Driving safety is important to everyone.

Another way that hill-start control helps out is that it means less wear and tear on other parts of the car, such as the handbrake, that you might use to do the same job manually. And in a manual transmission-equipped car you don't have to ride the clutch when starting out on a hill, meaning there's less wear on the clutch. And by preventing the car from rolling backwards, hill-start control puts less strain on the engine and drive train, which would otherwise have to counteract the backward momentum of the car in order to bring it up to speed.

Nonetheless, nobody would claim that hill-start control is as important as seat belts or air bags. An accident that occurs because you weren't able to get your car rolling forward in time on a hill isn't likely to be fatal, unless the vehicle rolls backward a considerable distance or if the vehicle is a truck with an unusually heavy load. But situations where you need to move a car on a hill are far more common than fatal collisions. Hill-start control is something that can help you on a daily basis, while (if you're lucky) you'll never need your car's airbags even once.

Hill-start control is one of many specialized safety devices available on automobiles today (back-up cameras are another example) that aren't absolutely essential to safe driving but which contribute to making the driving experience that much more pleasurable and worry free.

For more information about hill-start control and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.