Do Me a Favor and Learn to Drive a Car with a Manual Transmission

September 26, 2001

I'll just come right out and admit that this is a "Things That Piss Me Off" brain fart, so skip it if you aren't in a negative mood. People with automatic transmissions need to learn how to drive.

I'm not talking about controlling the direction of the vehicle; that's learning how to steer. That's all you can do in a car with an automatic. To drive you need a stick-shift. I've had a car like that for 13 months now, and I can't see myself going back.

People with automatics: Don't you hate it when you're driving up a hill, and the transmission won't down-shift? It waits and waits until you have no power left, then it finally drops a gear. And by that time you're causing a miniature traffic jam. In a manual, you can fix that -- shifting happens when you want it to, and anyone who's been driving for three months knows how to shift better than the best automatics.

But here's why everyone needs to drive a manual transmission for at least a few months -- so they'll understand when I complain about them riding their brakes (all you're doing is pissing off the people behind you and grinding down your pads) and getting in the passing lane on an uphill run (you know your speed's gonna drop like a rock, so why bother?). Drive a car where you roll backwards a little bit when you start on a hill, then realize why I don't like people climbing up my tailpipe when I have to do it.

Plus, it gives you a better sense of control. Everything the car does is because you say so. You have a higher top speed, because automatics usually only have 3 or 4 gears, while manuals have 5 or 6. More gears, higher top end. Your gas mileage will improve. When you're under-revving going up that hill, you're wasting gasoline, and you idle at least 300 RPM higher than I do. You'll get better acceleration, because you'll control the shifting, not some moronic computer chip. In other words, it's all plus and very little minus (I'll spot you parallel parking on a hill -- that bites).

So give it a try. You might like it.

September 25, 2001September 27, 2001