Stick shift and automatic follow the same rules of the road. However, there are a few differences in stick shift driving that may have you feeling awkward.
Stick Shift Key Points
- Having comfortable footwear is essential for handling the clutch
- Seating position is important. You might have to move your seat up
- Use the ball of your foot on the clutch to push it down
- If you need to adjust your foot on the clutch, put the car in neutral first
- Push the clutch down all the way until it hits the floor
- Don’t lean your heel on the floor. Keep your foot lifted
- The gas is more sensitive initially, until the clutch starts engaging
Stick Shift Preparation
The first thing you want to do before you even get into a stick shift car is making sure you’re wearing proper shoes. Sneakers work best. Often times, people will have a hard time with boots, flip flops and dress shoes. The clutch pedal itself is very awkward, so proper footwear is important.
The next most important thing is seating position. This is very important because of the clutch. You want to make sure you can go down on the clutch all the way until it can’t go anymore comfortably. Make sure you have your other foot down on the brakes when you go down on the clutch, just a good habit for safety. When pressing down on the clutch, use the ball of your foot. Get into the habit of having your foot lifted the entire time instead of resting your heel on the floor as you use the clutch.
Simple Things to Look out For
For a beginner driving stick shift, sometimes you will need to adjust your foot position on the clutch. If you find yourself holding the clutch down in an awkward position, just pop it out of gear and into neutral, adjust your foot and you’re ready to go!
When starting up on the gas, you will notice that the engine is extremely sensitive and will rev quickly. This is because the engine is not engaged to anything and has no force to pull yet. The more you come off the clutch, the more friction, meaning the engine (gas pedal) will become less sensitive.
Driving manual transmission on open roads is not as dangerous for beginners as one would think. Traffic laws, distancing, etc is all the same on the road. Starting and stopping will be the main issue. Follow these few simple steps and make stick shift driving an easier task.
To learn more about a manual transmission, you can check out the stick shift wiki