By Olivia Miller
One of the greatest tragedies of today is the decline in the number of people who know how to drive cars with a manual transmission. Manuals transmissions (also referred to as “stick shifts” or “standard transmissions”) allow the driver to directly change what gear the car is in rather than allowing the car to decide (as in automatics). Just to clear the waters, if a car does not have a third petal (the clutch) it isn’t a manual. Although some automatics include an option to directly control what gear the car is in (manumatics), the car is still in more control than the driver; it can’t stall, roll back on hills, or do any of the fearful things that make driving a stick so much fun. One of the main reasons people don’t learn to drive stick is because it is a disheartening process. That being said, not a person who knows how to drive manual will say it wasn’t all worth it in the end. The first reason to learn to drive stick is because generally, they make cheaper cars. They aren’t in high demand so they cost less initially, they usually get better fuel economy, and they have fewer technical problems in the long run. The fact that fewer people know how to drive manual means friends won’t ask to borrow the car and criminals won’t be able to steal it. Even without planning to own a manual, it is still worth the time it takes to learn. Knowing how to drive manual means security if there’s ever a situation where that is the only car available. If the battery is dead, the car is able to start by being pushed. People who drive manual are also proven to be better drivers because they learn to be more patient with others and concentrate more on their driving. It keeps new drivers occupied and eliminates the ability to text and drive. According to a study performed by the University of Virginia, teens with ADHD drive twice as well in cars with a manual transmission than their automatic counterparts. Knowing how to drive manual also helps drivers better understand how the car works, allowing them to take better care of it and have better control. If nothing else, people should learn how to drive manual because it’s just plain fun. Getting started is easy, just ask a person who knows, watch a tutorial, or read THIS article by The Art of Manliness.