Cars with manual transmission aren’t as standard as they once were. These days, almost everyone learns to drive on an automatic, and they may think that driving a manual is beyond their abilities. The truth is, pretty much anyone can learn to drive a stick shift with practice. And while driving a manual may seem harder at first, it can become second nature before too long.
Is it harder to drive a manual?
The short answer is yes, learning to drive a stick shift will be more difficult than learning to drive an automatic. With an automatic, the gear shifts happen without you even having to think about it. With a stick shift, that’s not the case.
When you’re learning to drive a stick shift, there’s a lot you need to get comfortable with. First is the clutch. It can take some time to get the hang of just how quickly to release the clutch as you aim to get the car moving. But the car certainly will let you know if you release it too quickly. You’ll find yourself going nowhere fast.
Then, of course, there’s the gear shifter itself. As you practice, you’ll get a feel for exactly when the engine wants you to shift as you accelerate. Just don’t forget to press the clutch before you do so!
All of this is much more complicated than an automatic, where all you need to do is press the gas pedal. But you’ll get the hang of it.
Learning to drive a manual has its benefits
Few people regret learning to drive a manual, whether or not they have a stick shift vehicle that they drive daily or not. Several benefits can come from knowing how to operate a manual. Axle Addict has given us the rundown on just a few of them.
First, they write that the car can run more economically and efficiently as a manual than an automatic. This is because you control the gear changes yourself. While the savings on gas that a manual transmission may not be massive, they can add up over time. And these days, many of us know that every penny makes a difference.
Axle Addict also explains that it’s possible to accelerate faster in an automatic because you’re the one controlling the gear changes. You’re no longer at the total mercy of your transmission when you feel the need for speed.
In addition, as we’ve noted elsewhere, manual transmissions generally cost less to repair than automatics. This is due to their more straightforward engineering. And finally, there’s the preparedness factor. You never know when you might be called on to get a friend who’s had one too many drinks home from the bar or want to rent a car in a country where stick shifts are more common.
Are transmission is safer?
While manual cars are generally more economical than automatics, the jury is out on whether they are safer. State Farm explains that each type of vehicle has its advantages when it comes to safety.
One advantage of automatics is that they allow you to keep both hands on the wheel. This means that you should be better prepared to swerve in the event of an impending accident. Manuals, on the other hand, require greater attention on the part of the driver. A less distracted driver is generally less likely to get into an accident.
One other advantage of stick shifts that makes them safer is by deterring crime. Manual transmission vehicles are less likely to get stolen. This is because there are fewer people out there who know how to drive them.
All in all, there’s little reason not to tackle learning to drive a stick shift. While it may seem like a challenge, it’s one worth taking on.