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What do I need to know about stick-shifts (and driving in general)?

Asked by jordym84 (4742 points ) December 3rd, 2012

Tomorrow one of my friends is going to start teaching me how to drive and she has a stick-shift. I will eventually learn how to drive an automatic vehicle, but from what I’ve heard it’s better to learn how to drive a manual first because it’s supposedly harder, which will make driving an automatic a breeze.

Now, I’ve never driven a motor-vehicle before (except for a golf cart that had a maximum speed of 12 mph a few years ago). My whole life I’ve lived in places that were either within walking distance to everything and/or had very reliable public transportation, so I never felt the need to own a car, and thus never got around to getting my license. However, now I live in southeastern US and, even though I live relatively close to everything (i.e. my workplace, the grocery store, the major shopping areas, the bank, etc), nothing is really walkable because you need to get on the main roads to go anywhere and there are no sidewalks. Additionally, I have no access to the public transportation here because, not only is it very limited, but also the bus stop closest to where I live is about a 45-minute walk away.

But, anyway, back to my question: I’m familiar with the rules of the road and have been reading the driver’s manual prior to taking the written exam, but I’m a bit nervous about the driving part. Not that I don’t think I can do it, but seeing as I’ve never driven a vehicle before and have no idea where to even begin (though I’m sure my friend will go over all of it with me tomorrow), I was wondering if the collective had any general advice on driving? I don’t even know what specific questions to ask, so any and all advice will be greatly appreciated :)

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