Being able to get out of an emergency or tricky situation very fast when on the road is a skill that every driver should have.

How to accelerate quickly to get away in an emergency

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Being able to get out of an emergency or tricky situation very fast when on the road is a skill that every driver should have. I remember descending the bridge at Western Avenue one evening. Vehicles were moving at a leisurely speed. Suddenly, in my rear view mirror, I saw a trailer show up over the top of the bridge behind me. It was flying and closing the gap between us rapidly. The driver was probably drunk or mad. Whatever was his state, I needed to accelerate quickly to get out of its way. That is one scenario. There are many others that I have been in.

accelerate quickly

To accelerate quickly if driving a manual transmission vehicle

Have you heard of the term “downshift”? It is the act of reducing the gear of a car in motion. For example, if you are on gear 4 and need to accelerate rapidly, shift to gear 3 and floor the accelerator pedal. You have to do it fast too. It is an emergency, after all. Your car will pick up speed much faster than if you simply floored the pedal while still in gear 4.

PS: Americans, the accelerator pedal = gas pedal.

If you were in gear 3 and need to pick up rapid speed, downshift to 2 and then hit the accelerator pedal. That is the principle: go one gear lower and then hit the accelerator.

To accelerate quickly if driving an automatic transmission vehicle

While it may look like rapid acceleration with an automatic transmission is difficult, that is not true. It really is simple. Yes; the car changes gear by itself depending on your current speed. The idea is to trick the transmission system into reacting. I do it all the time when the need arises.

If you are cruising leisurely at say 60 km/hour but you suddenly need to accelerate quickly and get away from that position or location. Take your foot off the accelerator pedal quickly so the engine revolution drops off and the car’s automatic transmission will downshift. The moment it does, floor the accelerator pedal and your car will accelerate rapidly.

If you have never done this before, it may take some practice for you to get it. But it is based on the same principle whether you are driving a manual or automatic transmission vehicle.

The Nightmare At The Bottom of The Bridge

Back to my story of the nightmare in which the articulated vehicle came hurtling after me from the top of the bridge. I did exactly what I have shared in this article and got away without a scrape. I have gotten out of a few tight spots this way.

Safety First

Note that these tips are to equip you with knowledge and skills that can save your life or that of someone else in an emergency. Use them responsibly. Do not drive dangerously. Practice if necessary to master the skill. Practice off the road and in a safe environment. Then when you have mastered it, use it only when absolutely necessary.

Safe driving!


  1. ONE:

    The FRSC have a regulation for drivers to mandatorily install speed_limiters in their vehicles. This is limited to commercial vehicles, initially, but is said to eventually be enforced across board.

    If someone wants to abduct you, and your car has been speed_limited, are you not a sitting duck for the abductor / armed robber who would almost certainly have no speed limiter installed in his own vehicle?


    I have heard about this issue of downshifting to accelerate. You want to move faster. The momentary loss of speed when you shift to a lower gear is enough for you to get caught by your pursuer, likely already moving at the fastest speed. Furthermore, the car tyres rotate slower than the engine speed, except when you are in the highest gears (in which case the tyres are rotating faster than the engine rpm). To make the car move at the same speed, or higher than the engine speed, your highest gear is what you should choose. This is simple physics, concerning gearing ratios (even with CVTs). I doubt it is in your best interest to downshift when you want to move even faster… you should be in your highest gear, and be upshifting to move even faster.

    Talking theory, but this is mere physics..

  2. The momentary loss of speed when you shift to a lower gear is enough for you to get caught by your pursuer

    Nah, buddy. There is no temporary loss of speed if you hit the accelerator pedal right after downshifting. The temporary loss of speed happens if you downshift and do not. This is a proven thing. Get out in your car and put it to practice.

  3. I drive an automatic. I will try out the deceleration idea. One method I have always used is to quickly step on the gas and stay on it. The ECU then tends to think that I want more thrust so it abandons the gear it was on and downshifts on-the-fly.

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