Social Question

MooCows's avatar

Who does NOT know how to drive a stick shift car/truck?

Asked by MooCows (3190points) February 15th, 2016

I never learned how to drive a stick shift but
I bet there are others who don’t now how also.
Fess up ladies…(and gentleman)

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59 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I don’t know how. I sorta know. I don’t have a drivers license. I have a learners permit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m an expert.

Mariah's avatar

I don’t know how. I can barely drive an automatic. I’m phobic.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have never owned an automatic.

Soubresaut's avatar

Not me—as in, I do not not know how to drive a stick shift—as in, I do know. Been driving a manual, tiny pickup truck for most of the time I’ve been driving. Shifting makes driving much more fun, I think, and it’s very learnable. I recommend it!

jaytkay's avatar

My family always had manuals. When I got to driver’s education, I was baffled. Really confused. How can a car work with only two pedals?

chyna's avatar

My first 4 cars were manual shift. So much more fun to drive.

Coloma's avatar

Me. I learned like 35 years ago but never got proficient, now, I’d never get the damn vehicle rolling.

Seek's avatar

Nope. Never had the opportunity. Hubby’s truck is a stick, but the shifter is wonky so I won’t bother with it.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s getting harder and harder to even buy a stick shift. They are being phased out. I used to think everyone should know the basics to drive one in case of an emergency, but in America it’s so rare you would wind up in that situation. My husband thinks our stuck cars are less likely to get stolen. Like a thief won’t know how to drive a stick. LOL.

Writing ladies….(and gentlemen) implies you think women are less likely to drive one. Don’t write it that way.

I do drive manual cars. If you ever bother to learn the trick is giving enough gas. A lot of people say, “let the clutch out and give it gas.” To someone who doesn’t drive stick that sounds like ease the clutch out first and give it some gas. It’s easier to give it a little gas and then is the clutch out. It’s all done simultaneously, but the gas keeps you from stalling.

Dutchess_III's avatar

For the first year, after I got my first automatic (In 1998,) every time I braked I hit a non-existant clutch pedal. I still do it sometimes.

Cruiser's avatar

This question reminds me of that day I went with my then 16 yr old to test drive a 4 speed Chevy C-30 truck. Since it was to be his vehicle I let him drive. His first attempt to shift he killed the engine and I chalked it up to it being a truck he was unfamiliar with and he then took off no problem. As we were driving along I asked him where he learned to drive a stick shift he looked over at me and said that this was his first time ever. O_O

Seek's avatar

On the upside, if you do drive a stick, it’s a good way to keep some young punk from stealing your car

JLeslie's avatar

^^So, my husband is right?!

jerv's avatar

My wife never learned stick so she cannot drive my current car at all. Then again, the synchros in it are worn in a way that even people who can drive stick might have issues with it, especially if they try to fast-shift. Second gear hasn’t felt right since the last time I let someone else drive it, so it’s unlikely I’d even let anyone else try anyways.

@Cruiser My second car was not only a 5-speed, but a VW with Reverse next to 1st instead of below 5th. That wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the fact that it had a loss shift linkage. If it was in 2nd and you moved the stick forward, there was a roughly equal chance of 1st or 3rd and, thanks to a non-functional safety catch, a non-zero chance of Reverse. That lead to me doing things like launching in 3rd gear (it had the torque to do so, even on a hill) and letting the clutch out slowly until I verified that I went from 2nd to the gear I actually wanted. Better to pussy-foot the clutch a little on each shift than go from 2nd to Reverse or 1st at >40 MPH, right?

@JLeslie Yes. There are enough people that cannot handle that third pedal to consider stick-shift an anti-theft mechanism.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I am sure you are aware that the 2nd to reverse shift is ideal for deglazing your clutch :D

johnpowell's avatar

I don’t have a license. But the very rare times I have driven it has been in a vehicle with a manual transmission. So if your water broke and me driving a stick shift was the the obstacle between you and the hospital I could get you there. It might just take a bit longer.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve never even been behind the wheel of a manual, and I honestly don’t remember the last time I was in a car with a manual transmission.

Yes, I’m on the books as looking forward to self driving cars, lol.

jca's avatar

I’m a lady and I learned to drive on a stick when I was 18. That’s all I drove for at least 10 years.

I find many people who drive stick will shift too soon, therefore the car is without as much power as it should have.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I had a girlfriend a couple of years ago who couldn’t. She bought a mustang and ordered it automatic. I couldn’t believe it. She was quite good handling a duel-engined boat with separate throttles. She could dock a 36 foot cabin cruiser like a New York valet, but couldn’t drive a stick. She was in her thirties. She said she didn’t know anybody her age that could. Blew my mind.

The best way to drive a fine performance automobile is by tac and that is best done by controlling the gearbox.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t know how. No desire to learn, either. Because I live in a fairly large city, I always get annoyed when I’m in a car that’s manual. If there were more open roads, that might be different, but I know driving in a city would drive me nuts if I attempted manual.

dxs's avatar

I don’t, but I used to. The first car I ever drove, my aunt’s jeep, was a stick shift. That was years ago, and I haven’t driven in a few years on top of that, so it’s all hazy. Maybe if I sat in the seat it might come back to me.

rojo's avatar

I learned to drive a standard in a ‘68 VW bug. It has stuck with me. We had a manual transmission vehicle (usually a truck) all the way up until our last purchase. Now I have to automatics. I still miss my PRNDL.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t. My few attempts were a very bad idea.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Have you ever been in a car that tells you when to shift? It always tells me to shift sooner than I naturally would in most gears. I think it’s to save gas?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: No, but a friend has a car (I think it’s a Ford) and it tells her when to shift. She’s one I think of when I say people who shift too soon. Her husband taught her to shift early to save gas. Meanwhile the car feels weak. Anyway, now with the Ford, it tells her when to shift and to me, it’s still too soon.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I shift sooner in local, slower traffic, between 3rd and higher gears hoping it saves gas. In faster traffic I probably shift like you. Having a car at one point that told me when to shift tempered me a little.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: When my friend first learned how to drive a stick (learned from her hubby), she was out of the driveway and bam, bam, bam, right into 4th. That’s what he taught her. I would have let it rev in 2nd, same in 3rd and 4th would be about ½ mile down the road.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca One thing I’ll say is shifting quickly takes the fun out of it.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: No vroom, vroom.

Stinley's avatar

In the UK you pass your test in a manual car and are licenced to drive both manual and automatic. If you pass your test in an automatic, you are not licenced to drive a manual. Most people try to pass their test in a manual so that they can drive both, even if they later only drive automatics. However, some people do have problems and can’t get the required skills for the manual and may then choose to learn to drive in an automatic. My cousin did that – she is particularly maladroit.

JLeslie's avatar

I know the popular thought is learn in a manual and you can drive both, but I personally think that is questionable. I think inexperienced teenagers driving a manual is more risky. They are getting used to driving to begin with, not great at judgement calls, and add in having to think about shifting gears, stalling out, rolling backwards in a hill (some cars have a safety for that now) I say start with automatic.

tedibear's avatar

I have driven a manual shift car once. It was on a flat road with a 55 mph speed limit, so there wasn’t much shifting.

I think it’s a great skill to have in an emergency.

Stinley's avatar

How long does it take the average US person to pass their test? In the UK it seems that the average is around 45 hours of professional tuition. Do we take longer because we are learning to drive manuals?

Seek's avatar

I live in Florida. I didn’t take driver’s ed at all ($$$), and my mom, well, wasn’t the best.

My driving education consisted of me driving myself around the church parking lot for about an hour. The written test was passed the first time, sight-unseen (I could have gotten the book for free but I didn’t have a ride to the DMV at the time).

Honestly, you’re all lucky I was blessed with an uncommon helping of common sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@Stinley It varies by state. The US issues drivers licenses by the state not at the federal level.

Most states you get a Lerner’s Permit first when you are 15 or 16 depending on the state. The permit has restrictions like you have to have an adult in the car when you drive, and some states you can’t drive at night. After a few months you can take the written test (now on a computer) and the driving test.

The driving test in most states is in a parking lot type setting and tests using your signals for turning, stopping, parallel parking, backing up, and doing a 3 point (K) turn. In other words you are not driving on the street with other traffic, you just need to master the “obstacle course” of the driving test. A lot of states also require a certain amount of hours in a driving class and passing a test if you are under 18. Many high schools offer drivers ed as an elective class so it’s free for students. I took a private course, because of where my birthday fell, and wanting to get it done as fast as possible.

If you’re over 18 a lot of the hoops disappear and you just have to pass the tests.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was a teen I had a Vega, a 4 speed. As I was driving one of my guy friends said I drove it so seamlessly, it was like riding in an automatic. No small compliment of a boy to a girl in the 70’s when girls were just known to be inferior in every way.

A couple of years ago I spied a 63 VW for sale. It was love at first sight, so I bought it. The first time I went to drive it my husband felt he needed to teach the little woman how to drive a stick (he’s from the 60’s and 70’s too.) I told him to just hush up and I just took off.
He just shook his head.
Then he says, “OK, we’re coming to a curve and you need to slow down….”
Just then I hit the clutch, down shifted into 2nd, use the clutch to slow myself, then took the curve and shifted back to 3rd, then 4th, and then used the clutch and downshifting to slow down for the stop sign. I drove a standard for so long that I never even had to think about it.
It’s all in how you work that clutch baby. In tune with the engine speed and your car.

He finally just shut up because, the truth was, I was driving better than he. He killed it several times. I didn’t kill it one single time.

Seek's avatar

In 2000, the driver’s ed course through the school cost $300.

In 2004, The DMV test was taken in the neighborhood behind the DMV office…. So not on the highway, but not a closed lot, either.

All I had to have was a signed paper saying I had received 40 hours of driving instruction, at least 10 of it at night. I hadn’t, but for my mom, signing the paper was easier than doing any actual teaching.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I love shifting gears, did so for ages, and hating giving it up. (I bought a Prius several months ago, and hybrid cars don’t have manual transmissions.)

I’ve been trying to sell my previous car; it’s in great condition – it recently passed inspection for the upcoming year – and the price is very reasonable. But, it seems that almost nobody can work a stick shift. Every potential buyer has backed away after learning about the transmission.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What is it and what are you asking, @Love_my_doggie?

rojo's avatar

Wait!!! This isn’t one of those “double entendre” questions where you are actually asking about our sex lives is it?

Never mind, I see you included “car/truck” to clarify for those, like me, whose car is not the only thing found in the gutter

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^ How did you even GET there, @rojo!

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I tried several times as a teen and failed. I haven’t had or wanted the chance to try again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You needed to be in a no-stress situation. The only car I had to teach my kids to drive was an Aerostar mini van. I was teaching my daughter to drive. She was doing OK, until she came to a stop sign, and directly opposite us were a couple of really cute boys her age. She just killed it over and over, and burst into tears.
But she finally got it.

rojo's avatar

where? the gutter? probably a depraved childhood.

rojo's avatar


rojo's avatar

I taught my son how to drive a standard transmission vehicle because I thought it was something everyone should be familiar with.
My daughter had absolutely no interest in learning, she tried a couple of times, did ok but told me it was not something that she needed to know because she would NEVER own a vehicle that required that much work to drive

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, nothing is more fun than making that standard car so things that an automatic can’t even dream of doing, just by manipulating the clutch! “Lets burn some rubber!” “Let’s throw it into a 180! Twice!”

rojo's avatar

“Let’s see if we can get this thing around that 90 degree curve on this dirt road without ending up in that cotton field!”

ps, the answer is no

ibstubro's avatar

I think it’s a great idea that they make a distinction between manual and automatic when you take your test in the UK, @Stinley.

It sounds as if there’s a great reason manual transmissions are becoming a thing of the past.

Stinley's avatar

@ibstubro manual cars are around 75% of new cars sold in the uk. I’m not sure why we love our manual cars so much. I’m so used to driving one, it really does not have any impact on me. I’ve driven an automatic a few times and it was easier but not enough to make me insist on one. I just don’t have a problem with a manual

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Interesting. When I was a teenager a guy I dated a couple of times got his license in FL at age 15, because at that time that was the age I guess. We both lived in MD, but his dad lived in FL, and when he went to visit him one time he got his driver’s license. In MD you had to be 16 to have a full fledged license so it was really cool at the time that he got his at 15. I don’t know if he had to do anything except just take a test? I have no idea.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Never owned any cars with auto gearboxes.

I can heel and toe like a boss. (Yes, manipulating all the pedals at once). Downshifts smoother than a Brandy Alexander.

Yes, I own driving shoes. Like gloves for your feet.

AshlynM's avatar

No, I have no clue how to drive a stick nor do I want to.

JLeslie's avatar

@SecondHandStoke My husband is one of those guys also, he’s an instructor and races. I don’t like when he does any of it while I’m in the car.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^My wife lived in Rome for years.

My most aggressive canyon carving does not faze her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro Manuals are going out of style because they actually require some thought and coordination. You can’t text and shift at the same time, see. Cars are moving further and further away from requiring any kind of common sense or reasoning of any kind to operate.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I’m a grandmother and have never owned an automatic trans car. I love my five-speed. Whatever I buy next will also be a five-speed.

ibstubro's avatar

Exactly my point, @Dutchess_III.
I don’t really care to be on the road with too many cars dependent upon the operator’s common sense or reasoning.
I was thinking about the Trump Presidency, but now that you mention it…

“Oh, nothing is more fun than making that standard car do things that an automatic can’t even dream of doing, just by manipulating the clutch! ‘Lets burn some rubber!’ ‘Let’s throw it into a 180! Twice!’”

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