Porsche Advanced Driving Tips: Speed & Block Changing

Readers of the Ferdinand Magazine blog share one big thing: the love of driving. We love to drive, and every run out in any car or bike can be a chance to improve on our skills. Here’s something to brush up on next time you’re behind the wheel: a refresher course in block changing from the Institute of Advanced Motoring’s Chief Examiner, Peter Rodger.

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“Block-changing means choosing and changing gear once, instead of working through all the gears”, says Peter. “Missing unnecessary gears saves on fuel, as well as wear and tear and saves driver effort. Use your gears to go and your brakes to slow.

“Block-changing requires less driver input and so allows more time for other things like looking for problems or reading road signs. A good driver will use the brakes or their acceleration sense to slow down, not the gears. Brake pads are cheaper to replace than clutches, so use the brakes if you need to.

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“When increasing speed, you can save on fuel consumption by skipping out gears, for example going straight from third to fifth. When slowing on approach to a roundabout or junction, use acceleration sense and/or brakes to decrease speed, and then select the right gear for the speed you are driving at.  This may mean skipping out several gears at once. Gear changes should be made after braking, but before turning the steering wheel.”

It’s common sense, but amazing how often we bang through the gears out of habit. Stay switched on and watch how you behave when approaching a roundabout or junction: squash bored driving before it sets in.

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What was the best driving tip you ever received? Use the comments to share. My favourite road tips all came from my bike instructor: the one I use most is at crossroads or T-junctions. “Look right, then left. If you have to check right again before making a move, you didn’t look well enough first time around.” He wasn’t saying don’t loook right again, just look properly.


  • Alex Willis says:

    This depends on your vehicle. In my 944, this is feasible. In my van however, the torque band is so narrow that I have to use all the gears, at least in acceleration.

    • John says:

      Yes, good point Alex. My Subaru Outback is short geared overall but you need some landscape help to skip fourth if you want to crack on.

    • Martin Richards says:

      My wife’s 520D is similar Alex – if you want decent acceleration you have to really stir the gears. My Boxster on the other hand frequently goes 2nd to 6th ‘cos that way you get the lovely noise as the variocam kicks in, without the points on the license… (I still haven’t got the ‘noise’ in 4th yet!)

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