King of The Hill
Hill Start Assist / Hill Holder technology isn’t new news. In fact, the invention dates back to the first driverless carriages and even horse-drawn carriages before that, and was introduced in it’s current form on the 1936 Studebaker – although a bit more primitive than the technology we see today!
Mostly used for assisting hill starts in semi-automatic/automatic transmission systems, hill start assists have been introduced to manual transmission vans and cars from as early as 2004.
What is Hill Start Assist?
Hill Start Assist temporarily prevents you from rolling down a hill by providing an additional 2.5 seconds average pressure on the brakes, allowing you time to move your foot from one pedal to another. This is becoming an ever-present feature of modern cars, due to the sheer amount of minor accidents that occur from vehicles rolling back on hills.
As a safety feature it definitely has its merits and it makes the whole hill start process simpler too. Instead of worrying about clutch control, you simply drive forward. This potentially saves a courier time on hilly routes and protects the couriers integrity by lowering the risk of a collision in heavy traffic.
Most modern vans feature this system. If your van is pre-2006 it can be hit and miss – you can check if your van features hill start assist by searching on Google, viewing the van manual/brochure or looking at manufacturer websites for services such as FordEtis – this is Ford’s system for providing resources on their products for service and repair.
One last thing to note is that a malfunctioning brakes system, such as ABS, can cause hill start assists to be unreliable – so make sure you have your vehicle kept to UK standards at all times on the road and if you feel uncertain, be extra careful.