Q&A - Coasting Downhill
Q: I often coast down a high hill in order to save on gas if there is no traffic behind me. I notice that there is a traffic offence called: "Coast down grade illegally" on the ICBC website with a fine of $121.00 and a 2 point assessment. Is what I do coasting down grade illegally and why would that be a problem?
A: The ICBC guide Learn to Drive Smart states in Chapter 5:
"It is illegal to coast downhill in neutral or with the clutch in. You need to be in gear to safely control your vehicle."
The Motor Vehicle Act says:
Coasting down grade
197 When travelling down grade a driver must not coast with the gears of the vehicle in neutral or the clutch disengaged.
Here are a number of reasons that I found which would indicate that this is a bad idea:
- engine braking is eliminated
- vehicle speed downhill will increase quickly
- increased use of the footbrake can reduce its effectiveness
- steering response will be affected particularly on bends and corners
- it may be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed.