Why should anyone drive a manual on today’s roads?
They are complicated, cumbersome and inconvenient. A design feature from the olden days of the automobile. With the overwhelming majority now tilting towards automatic vehicles, it looks like the days of the manual are over.
I did not always drive a stick shift, but after I learned, it was the best thing for me. I remember the first time I tried it, I was practicing in a big area and I tried everything the car had to offer; the power was easy to get used to and everyone was laughing at me, because I never knew a car could do so much. I grew up in New York using the subway so driving a car was foreign to me. I love it now.
Here are six real-life reasons why learning to drive a stick shift might just save you on the road.
1. Better control of the car
Automatic transmissions do not respond immediately to driver inputs. That delay means I may not be able to exploit the engine’s power output. But, because the manual transmission allows me to control the power output of the engine at any given time, I have far more control over the car. In emergency situations such as hydroplaning, I can downshift to boost the engine’s output to correct any unwanted extraneous movements of the wheel.
2. More attention on the road
It is certainly possible to do something ludicrously stupid like texting while driving or shaking your brains out to your favorite song while driving a manual. But because of the added task of shifting, the chances of you getting distracted by your phone or your radio are much less since both of your hands are occupied. That forces a driver to pay attention more to the driving. Also, because shifting requires many coordinated motions from your body, you will naturally start thinking ahead before the traffic or you make a move. This makes you more alert and aware of your surroundings.
3. So many choices
The biggest advantage of knowing how to drive the manual would be the newfound ability to drive pretty much anything. I now possess the power to get in and go no matter what kind of gear lever is standing on the center console.
4. The world’s handiest designated driver
Although sometimes it can be incredibly tedious to bring your friends home in the heart of the night, coming to the rescue as their designated driver could very well save them. So when you receive the call that your intoxicated friend(s) need a lift, don’t leave them hanging because you don’t know how to drive their stick shift. For many of us, that alone might be the reason why we’ll learn how to drive manuals.
5. Hand-eye-foot coordination workout
Modulating the clutch pedal and the throttle carefully to make your gear change as smooth as possible requires a great deal of hand-eye-and-foot coordination. Subliminal yet smooth communication between your feet, hands and eyes ensure the perfect shifts. If all this sounds daunting, do not worry, because all this becomes natural as you get used to driving the manual.
6. It is fun
With a manual, I will never get bored. It might be a little extra work, but it keeps my mind engaged throughout the drive and makes it just that much more eventful and fun. All of a sudden, driving is an activity, not a chore.
This post was written by Denise Seegobin. She currently lives in New Jersey, but grew up in Brooklyn and is a New Yorker at heart. On her blog, Savings with Denise, she teaches people how to save money on things they use every day. The blog focuses on ways to spend smarter, and how to harness your creativity. She also works with companies to review offers giveaways.