posted by on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 in Advice, Challenges


Like Learning to Drive all over again!

My Spring Break Adventure!

How is your week going so far? I hope it is swell. I’m on Spring Break this week so I have been maxing and relaxing! Hollywood Studios yesterday, MOSI tomorrow – lots of fun stuff on the list. But, I also have made a goal – no, more of a promise to myself – to learn to drive. Let me rephrase that…to learn to drive a manual transmission.  See, I have been without a car for some time now, and over the last few days of my Spring Break, I’ve been learning how to drive my family’s manual Jeep! Now for those of you who have never driven a stick shift, it’s not as easy as it looks. I’ve had plenty of friends say, “I know how to, I just have never done it.” Wrong!  I quickly realized that just because I understand how it works, that does not mean I can do it. I can, with confidence, say that I have stalled plenty of times, and am far from a manual master. But, I will get there! I know some of you may be learning to drive on an automatic. But driving a stick shift is something cool that I think everyone should try. (Plus, manual transmission vehicles are often cheaper!!!)

Tips to Slay the Stick Shift:

Challenge yourself without distractions

The perfect place to practice your first foray with a manual transmission is a large, empty parking lot, or any other isolated space. Thinking that everyone is watching can make you nervous and lose your place, and the thought of accidentally hitting something, or someone, can drive you crazy!

Stop and Go

The most difficult part of learning how to drive stick, for anyone, is starting and stopping. Practice starting and stopping in a straight line. And don’t be afraid to stall. Don’t worry about shifting from first to second gear for the time being. That’s the easy part.

Get a “feel” for the transmission

The “feel” comes into play with the clutch. While you’re stopped, and with the clutch depressed, put the car in first gear and slowly apply gas while you slowly let out the clutch pedal. You’ll feel the clutch catch. This is the point at which you can step on the gas.

Next, you’ll “feel” the engine letting you know when to shift into second gear. Eventually, you’ll learn where the right shift points are, and driving a manual transmission will become second nature, and far less intimidating than it once was.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like with anything, practice makes perfect. Make sure you feel comfortable with the basics before you get on busy streets. I already had plenty of driving experience, so learning stick was just one challenge, I couldn’t imagine learning how to drive a manual while learning all the rules of the road.

I will be the Master of the Manual

Learning to drive is always stressful. And learning on a manual transmission may seem impossible, but it’s all about balance.  Just keep up the practice because let’s face it - it’s certainly better than walking!

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