Most new drivers learn how to drive an automatic transmission vehicle. But if you are learning to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission, this is known as driving a stick shift. Drivers of stick shift vehicles are required to learn more driving skills because the gears of the transmission need to be shifted manually. This is done each time you want to change your speed. With an automatic transmission, the speed gets adjusted automatically for the driver. However, manual transmission requires the driver to change the gears at the appropriate times. It isn’t really that hard once you get the hang of it.
The Top 5 Tips for driving a stick shift
If you already know how to drive an automatic vehicle, you can easily learn to drive a manual vehicle by understanding the main differences between the two. Below are 5 tips which will help you easily adapt to a stick shift and learn how to operate it effectively.
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1. Do Not Use Cell Phones – Since automatic vehicles are so much easier to drive, this allows the driver to have one free hand available for operating their cell phone. This is not a luxury they would get in a manual vehicle because one hand is always on the steering wheel while the other hand is on the stick shift. Therefore, you will not have any available hands for operating your mobile devices. If you attempt to try, it will likely cause an accident to happen. So, do not use cell phones or any other mobile device while you are driving a manual vehicle.
2. Left Foot on Clutch Pedal – The clutch pedal is the one extra foot pedal which gets used in manual vehicles. You will not see it used in automatic vehicles. The purpose of the clutch pedal is to allow the driver to change gears. That is why the clutch pedal must be pressed before you change gears. Use your left foot to press and depress the clutch pedal. Your right foot still gets used for the brake and gas pedals.
3. Turning the Car Off is Different – An automatic transmission vehicle just requires you to stop, set the gear to park, and then turn the key to the off position. Manual transmission vehicles are a bit more complex when it comes to turning off the vehicle. You need to first shift to second gear while pressing the brake pedal and clutch pedal at the same time with your feet. Once the vehicle has completely stopped, turn the key in the ignition to off. Release your foot from the clutch. Set the parking brake by pulling up the lever.
4. Using Gears – Manual vehicles have 6 gears. The first 3 gears are used for city driving or on roads where the is a lot of stop-and-go traffic. Gears 4 through 6 are used on faster roads, such as highways and state roads. Before changing gears, be sure to press the clutch pedal until it touches the floor. It will take some time for you to get used to this, but you will catch on soon enough.
5. Stopping on a Steep Hill – If you are driving on an inclined street or hill, there may come a point when you’ll need to stop on it. You can’t just keep your foot on the brake pedal like with an automatic car. You need to press down both the clutch pedal and brake pedal with your feet. The gear should also be set to neutral. Some people recommend putting on the parking brake too, depending on how steep the hill is. Now when you’re ready to proceed moving forward over the hill, go back to first gear and gradually take your left foot off the clutch. Meanwhile, you’ll want to transfer your right foot over to the gas pedal. Pull down the parking brake lever if it is still up.