Re: How to Teach Someone How to Drive a Stick-Shift Car

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I was going to violently disagree, but then I reread the post title -- How to Teach Someone How to Drive a Stick-Shift Car

This is correct -- I'm sure someone could drive a stick smoothly in 30 minutes with this method.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:24 AM
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It could be you!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:26 AM
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I found that making vroom-vroom noises was helpful (that is, you know when to shift because it sounds right), but I suppose that's covered by the less cool method of looking at the tachometer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:27 AM
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Steps 1-3 should take under 10 minutes. Step 4, 10-15 minutes. Steps 5-7, 10-15 minutes. So 35 minutes MAX. (Then lots of practice, but of the kind they could do on their own.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:29 AM
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The vroom-vroom bit is a nice touch, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:29 AM
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This post is not true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:29 AM
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Oh, I guess peep gets it right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:30 AM
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6 is true or I suck as a teacher. Or both. Probably both.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:30 AM
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Or, that is, this post does not describe teaching somebody to drive a stick shift car in practical situations on the road. It describes teaching somebody to avoid stalling a stick shift car at low speeds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:31 AM
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I wonder what would happen if I tried to drive stick these days. I haven't touched one since Dr. Oops' Jetta in maybe 1996. Is it like riding a bicycle, or would I have to relearn?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:32 AM
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No. I disagree so much. Or, I learned to drive a stick-shift in 30 minutes and am a successful parking lot driver (given few other cars moving in the lot) but my very first attempt to drive on a road (having done several 30 minute practices), resulted in me being rear-ended. People stop and/or drive too close behind cars (these day?) for me to feel comfortable driving a stick-shift on the road. I wasn't even on a hill rolling backwards; I was at a light and hadn't noticed I had stopped in a pot hole and needed to press on the gas more.

So, 30 minutes and I got the idea but it'll take me months? years? to be comfortable driving one.

Also I called all my friends to find someone to drive the car home for me (very minor accident but my first and I freaked out) and no one could drive a stick anyway.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:33 AM
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Shorter me, 9 is right.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:34 AM
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9: There's not all that much to it once you've mastered the not-stalling at low speeds bit, though. I mean, downshifting to accelerate isn't really the sort of thing you actually need to know how to do, same with engine braking (much as I found it satisfying).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:34 AM
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I heard a really brilliant way to teach absolute value inequalities, recently. (Something like |3x-5| < 2.) This is really hard for students, because the answer may be a single interval (like the one above), or two intervals going towards -∞ and +∞.

What she did was assign everyone a whole number on the numberline, and have them line up along the board, with the Zero Person in the center. Then she held up a card with a problem like |3x-5| < 2, and the students stepped forward if it worked for their number.

After a few examples, they started to notice that with <, the answer was one interval in the middle, and with >, it was two intervals on either side. Then they all sat down, and she lectured on the material, and they were engaged and into it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:35 AM
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I was at a light and hadn't noticed I had stopped in a pot hole and needed to press on the gas more.

Explain what happened? I don't understand this at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:35 AM
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The process as described doesn't really make sense to me. The stuff with the rev counter at 2-2,500 revs, and so on. If you put my car in first with the engine already revving like that the results wouldn 't be pretty.

That said, I learned to drive a manual at the same time I learned to drive, so I never learned gear changing as a distinct process. So perhaps it makes more sense from a US perspective.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:35 AM
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13 see 11.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:35 AM
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What 13 said. This is definitely only about rolling around a parking lot, because after that it's just called...driving. I'm assuming the person is already comfortable driving an automatic, and would be able to practice on neighborhood roads when they felt comfortable, and then head out into the world.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:37 AM
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My dad gave me a fifteen minute lesson and then turned me loose. However, that was on a $2,000 car that was mine. If it was his car, the lesson would have been much, much longer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:39 AM
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If you put my car in first with the engine already revving like that the results wouldn 't be pretty.

Well, if you popped the clutch out like an experienced stick-shift driver, then it will jerk and lunge. But if you slowly release the clutch it will work just fine and be smooth. You want them to feel what it feels like when it goes smoothly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:40 AM
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15: I had stopped for a red light and one of the car's tires was in a little hole so when I pushed down on the gas, the car didn't move like it normally did, so I put the clutch in to try again thinking I had stalled. Then I got hit.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:40 AM
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10: About ten years after I sold my last manual transmission car, I drove my sister's with no trouble at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:41 AM
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21: Surely that is not an actual claim that you are not capable of mastering stickshift, if you had a reason to do so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:41 AM
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30 min isn't enough for true finesse, but I think it's pretty close to get the hang of it if you're reasonably clever/coordinated. I used to have a manual Jetta, and I got lots of requests to learn on it. I figured the clutch was on borrowed time anyway, so I taught five or six people. Heebie's method is basically what I do.

Unfortunately, manual transmissions are rapidly becoming obsolete, even in sporty cars.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:42 AM
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21: So you were stopped at a light, and someone rear-ended you while you were motionless because you were too slow to start when the light changed? I mean, it might not have happened if you were driving an automatic (although I still don't understand why the stick was the problem. It sounds as if you managed to get it in gear, at which point hitting the gas should have worked like it always does), but it doesn't sound as if your driving was the problem at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:43 AM
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23: I understand the mechanics of stick-shifts and can capably drive around a parking lot but that jump from parking lot to road driving is actually pretty big. And I don't trust my fellow drivers to make it possible. Unless I put a big "L" in the back-window or something.

So 'learning to drive stick' is more like 'learning not to stall at slow speeds'.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:45 AM
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Re: 20

Yeah, but I'd still describe the process in 1st gear as change gear, then gas, then release clutch. And 2.5k revs would be hill starting or sonething. Pretty sure I'd be much lower than that on a gentle flat start. 2.5k in 1st would be about 20mph. Again, perhaps I'm thinking of it from the point of view of someone too distant from learning.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:45 AM
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can capably drive around a parking lot but that jump from parking lot to road driving is actually pretty big.

It might be big, but you don't need a teacher for it. You need a quiet neighborhood on a Sunday morning, and other intermediate situations.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:47 AM
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27, depends on how heavy the car is, too, right? 2-2.5 K was perfect for both mine. Also, new learners are more likely to stall because they're not giving enough gas than to jackrabbit because of too much.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:50 AM
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27: Surely you could modify the method to work on your car's uniquely optimal rpm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:51 AM
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18: so then you would fail to teach them to drive stick in any practical sense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:53 AM
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When I got out of the car after 35 minutes, they could take it from there and try out new traffic situations as they see fit. I'd be done in 35 minutes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:55 AM
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Seriously, can someone explain what the hard bit is about stick once you're past the initial not-stalling bit? Hydrobatidae got rearended by an impatient twerp because she didn't jackrabbit away from a light on her first time out in a manual car, but that sort of thing is (a) not strongly related to bad driving on her part and (b) sort of ordinary problems with getting comfortable learning anything.

What problems, generally, is someone who can get around a parking lot okay with their stick going to run into if they ease into practicing on real streets? I can't think of all that much to actually learn, as opposed to just getting comfortable with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:58 AM
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I have a hard time developing muscle memory or whatever it is you call the ability to learn a relatively complex set of movements. Heebie reminds me of any number of coaches and PE teachers who would tell me what to do, watch me do each part separately, and then wonder why I couldn't do the whole thing. Eventually I turned to sarcasm, but it was really awkward in junior high when everybody could do a lay-up or whatever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:58 AM
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The thing is, driving a stick shift under stress is a very different thing -- even if you never stall on quiet roads you might stall if you're freaked out by rapidly changing circumstances -- so there's something of a discontinuity when you move to roads with other traffic. If you are not prone to be freaked out by driving or traffic then maybe you don't really care, or even notice, this discontinuity, because you're not particularly more jumpy when you move to bigger roads, but that is not universally the case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:58 AM
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Okay, but if that's it, I still think Heebie's right in terms of that being about all the literal teaching you need -- once you can do the parking lot thing, all that's left is getting comfortable with it under circumstances that don't freak you out. That might take awhile, but it shouldn't really require instruction as such.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:01 PM
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I can get being freaked out by traffic. Or what Moby is saying in 34. What I don't get is why the teacher is needed to overcome those. Just practice, and take however long you'd like.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:02 PM
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Traffic is slightly different than the Moby issue, since Moby's claim is that the OP wouldn't work on him in 30 minutes. However, he is underestimating what a masterful teacher I am.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:03 PM
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Then could you show me how to do a lay up?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:03 PM
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33.2, in addition to the stress making it harder (ie traffic lights), starting on a hill (esp in traffic) and knowing which gear to shift down to when traffic slows or you have a curve in the road are the big ones that I think are hard to figure out by yourself.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:04 PM
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Yes. But not in 30 minutes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:05 PM
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Just checked, as I had to drive the 5 minutes from the station to home. Heebie's 2000-25000rpm is less high than I thought. I pull away at about 1500, or a bit less (1200ish) when moving away gently from lights, but I can see that someone nervous about stalling would want to be higher.

re: 30

Heh, that almost sounds like sarcasm.

re: 33

A lot of people just starting look at the gear change, or sway to one side when changing. My wife, who has recently started driving again after years not driving, does this slightly. It makes me nervous. It'll go away within a week or two, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:07 PM
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I'd still never teach someone to rev the car before changing _into_ 1st gear. That makes no sense at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:09 PM
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re: 29

I suppose I'm not making allowances for huge cars with heavy under-powered engines. [Really feeling the need for an emoticon here].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:10 PM
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I hate to tell you but with those instructions and a car (and probably not much more than 30 minutes), I could just teach myself to drive a standard - 0 minutes for the teacher! I mean to the driving around a parking lot stage. I actually would have preferred that.

The hard part, for myself and has been said above, is taking these actions that are barely muscle memories (yep, joys of being nonathletic), and transitioning to a stressful situation where if I mess up (slightly) I can get in a car crash. In someone else's car.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:10 PM
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Shortly after my dad had this stroke (i.e. before he had re-learned to walk), he wanted to see if he could still drive a manual transmission. I went with him because it didn't seem safe for him to go alone and nobody else would go with him. It was kind of scary as far as the steering went (because only one hand worked well enough to grab the wheel) but his clutch work was no worse than mine was after two months of owning a car with a stick.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:10 PM
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43: Eventually, that's not how they're going to do it. It's just breaking the simultaneous motion into bite-size pieces. Then you build it back up again.

Chances are, they will naturally get the simultaneous motion, because nobody thinks that revving an unengaged engine is great for gas mileage. All you're doing is dragging it out into slow motion for them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:12 PM
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I hate to tell you but with those instructions and a car (and probably not much more than 30 minutes), I could just teach myself to drive a standard

I hate to tell you, but I included this option in the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:13 PM
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We never hit anything, but mom wasn't happy and made him sell the car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:13 PM
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I feel like this is some kind of metaphor for the uselessness of formal education generally.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:15 PM
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Eventually, that's not how they're going to do it. It's just breaking the simultaneous motion into bite-size pieces. Then you build it back up again.

Yeah, that's how I teach people how to kick. Makes sense. I still disagree about this one element, since it's learning a habit you'll have to unlearn, but the general approach is sound.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:16 PM
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40: Yes - starting on a steep hill in traffic was tough at first. I varied between stalling and drifting back. When my sister was new at it, she drifted backwards on a hill and locked bumpers with an old and huge Cadillac.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:19 PM
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(That was good how I skipped that part at the very beginning, wasn't it?)


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:21 PM
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It's been so long that I've forgotten how you do cope with hills -- just do everything quickly, right? Off the brake and quickly hit the gas and shift into gear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:21 PM
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54: You can either do everything fast with more gas than usual, or you can use the handbrake (if your car has one) to keep from rolling.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:24 PM
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52: When I teach people, I try to find an empty parking ramp and make them park, reverse out, and start uphill over and over.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:26 PM
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heebie is a pedagogical optimist. From my experiences in math classes, it seems amazing that she is able to maintain this optimism as a math teacher. She must just be a really great teacher.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:33 PM
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I try to find an empty parking ramp and make them park, reverse out, and start uphill over and over.

Standard Shift Boot Camp.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:41 PM
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I tried a little bit of this with my wife in my last car, which was a stick shift, but she found the whole process of driving it cumbersome - the lack of power steering was probably more of a problem than the transmission. But now we only have one car, so it's an automatic, and will probably remain that way. This makes me kind of sad.

I taught a different friend to drive stick in her new-old VW, and was moderately successful. A week later we got together for a second lesson and I discovered that she'd been trying to start in third gear the whole time, because of the wacky German-car location of reverse.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:45 PM
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That's nothing. My brother once had a German car with the engine in the trunk.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:50 PM
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It's been so long that I've forgotten how you do cope with hills -- just do everything quickly, right? Off the brake and quickly hit the gas and shift into gear?

Also, half-engaging the clutch just before you let off the brake. Or you buy a Subaru with the hill-holder clutch.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:51 PM
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Or you buy a Subaru with the hill-holder clutch.

Our mini had that, too. Seemed kinda cheat-y to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:53 PM
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Anti-lock brakes are the biggest cheat of all. If you aren't willing to slam into shit, you shouldn't be driving.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 12:58 PM
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A friend of mine taught himself how to drive a stick in about ten minutes. The very next thing he did was drive to SF from the Peninsula on 101 in his newly acquired stick-shift-having truck. The next day he drove from SF to Chicago in same.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:02 PM
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At least, he began to do so the next day.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:02 PM
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re: 61

Yeah, you balance the car on the clutch. That'd be standardly taught here as a pre-requisite to passing your driving test. It's tricky on a really steep hill, or if you have a car with a crappy clutch, as one shitty car I owned did.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:06 PM
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I recently had to heel and toe a couple times in downtown Seattle. Unpleasant enough to influence route selection.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:07 PM
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64,65: I'm thinking he decided that it was too hard to handle San Francisco's hills with a stick, so he decided to move to a flatter city.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:10 PM
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He had flown out from Chicago in order to collect the truck.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:16 PM
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Is this one of those creepy yes-no mysteries? Those were fun. Was he a dog?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:23 PM
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When they were little, my baby sibs used to sit in the passenger seat and do all the shifting for me. Listen for the revs, listen for them to fall silent when I put the clutch in, shift. Years later, they reported that learning to drive a stick was easy. If you can prep them a decade in advance, it won't even take half an hour.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:24 PM
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The surgeon was his mother!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:24 PM
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Or you buy a Subaru with the hill-holder clutch.

You disappoint me, Knecht. Subarus aren't the only cars with hill-holders these days.

As to the scarcity of manuals these days, this actually came up yesterday when I had my car in the shop; the service writer was pleased to see I have a stick shift. She said that only 5% of BMWs these days are built with manuals.

And I may actually get the chance to test heebie's hypothesis. My girlfriend doesn't know how to drive stick and is getting a little fed up with being driven everywhere, so teaching her would make both of our lives easier...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:42 PM
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Reading this thread does not inspire any urge to learn how to drive a stick-shift. But I barely drive as it is, so I feel out of practice half the time anyway, even driving an automatic.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:49 PM
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73: Probably not a good idea to try to teach her yourself. Could cause tension in your relationship.

I suggest you fly heebie out to teach her.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:49 PM
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73, 74: Or maybe NickS will give your girlfriend his automatic car, since he hardly drives it anyway.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 1:50 PM
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Teaching a romantic partner to drive is as bad of an idea as open, honest conversation. The relationship will probably recover if it is strong, but why take the chance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:04 PM
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73: I just taught my boyfriend. He'd put it off for years, to the point that he'd inherited a car he couldn't drive. Now that he's learned, he scoffs at people who have automatic transmissions on their sporty cars. I don't laugh out loud, just to myself.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:07 PM
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One of my office mates is a divorce lawyer, and says that no one should ever ever ever try to teach a spouse to ski. I'm 100% certain that he would say the same about driving a stick.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:08 PM
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Josh, have her shift while you're driving for a while. It'll teach her a good portion of the task.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:09 PM
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Plus, hand job jokes galore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:12 PM
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79: The boyfriend wants to learn to ski next. You're scaring me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:12 PM
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Pay for her to do a course. I learned to drive on an auto initially and took a class, it was great and easy. Longer than a 1/2 hour, though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:14 PM
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If you do a particularly bad job of teaching your spouse to ski, you won't have to bother with hiring a divorce lawyer.

</tasteless>


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:17 PM
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The same is doubly true for skiing (actually, I still don't know how to ski, but it's certainly doubly true for snowboarding). Professionals are your friend.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:18 PM
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That wasn't that tasteless. How about "If you do a particularly bad job of teaching your spouse to ski, you can have sex with her lifeless corpse."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:18 PM
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I'm with ttaM - who presses the accelerator before they're even in gear?

Hill starts, biting point. I live on a hill, with a T-junction at the top.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:25 PM
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|| At our local hill, they have Women Only lesson program on Friday afternoons. It's really terrific -- my wife's done it 4 times now -- same group, same instructor, all afternoon, for 7 weeks. Not going to help ydnew's boyfriend, but a really good thing nonetheless. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:28 PM
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Anyway, they give all the participants a drink coupon, so the bar after the lesson is filled with athletic women, rosy-cheeked and well-affirmed. I tell my office mate, who is single, that his pass would be deductible if he would spend his Friday afternoons up on the hill -- he's more likely to meet potential clients than potential girlfriends, but it's a rich environment in either case.

Not Intended As Tax Advice.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:34 PM
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I'm with ttaM - who presses the accelerator before they're even in gear?

Nobody. You don't teach someone by showing them how experienced people do something smoothly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:34 PM
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Jammies taught me to snowboard, roughly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:34 PM
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I vaguely could get down the hill by carving my way down on my heel edge, but that's all. Now I can vaguely get down a hill by carving on both edges, because I'm a giant pansy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:35 PM
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Written out, that looks pretty superficial.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:35 PM
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88 - I had to read that 3 times before I realised it was about skiing, not hill starts.

90 - but, but, but there's no benefit to pressing the accelerator first. When I drive off, I don't do things particularly quickly. Put in gear, press accelerator, check again that everyone's seatbelts are done up, let out clutch. I don't see how it's easier to press the accelerator and then the clutch?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:39 PM
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re: 90

Except that'd be how Asilon and I would both have been taught. Here, where everyone [or as near as dammit] drives 'stick'. In fact, when I was taught, the instructor put me in the seat, told me how to put it in gear, a couple of seconds we drove away, and then I changed into second, and then a few minutes later third, and we drove around a bit.* It was much more an 'at the deep end' approach. I suspect if everyone treats it as a completely normal standard thing that everyone can do, it has less initial nervousness attached to it.

* on quiet broad streets, with little traffic, obviously. Not on a main road.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:43 PM
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I've taught people to drive stick with essentially this method, although I start with step 2 (finding the sweet spot for the clutch) and then slowly accelerating. I've taught 2 people so far - and their ease in learning was predictable by how comfortable they were driving (an automatic) beforehand. The one who drove a lot learn quickly; the nervous driver was doubly nervous with all these extra things to think about.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:44 PM
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Jammies taught me to snowboard, roughly.

"Roughly at first, then gently. Then roughly again before he stole away as the sun set, leaving me to make my own way to the lodge with a lift pass good for the whole season and a heart open to the joy of winter sports."

The first of what will soon become its own genre: Anorak Rippers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:48 PM
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but, but, but there's no benefit to pressing the accelerator first.

Not eventually. There's pedagogical value in breaking up a coordinated motion into it's components.

the instructor put me in the seat, told me how to put it in gear, a couple of seconds we drove away, and then I changed into second, and then a few minutes later third, and we drove around a bit.

Such talent! Wasted on a driving stickshift. You should be shifting to the moon!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:49 PM
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re: 98.last

There's no need for the sarcasm. The point isn't to show off. That's how pretty much everyone does it. I was a completely average learner driver. I failed my driving test first time. I still (very) occasionally stall the car I have now. As I said already, it's just not seen the same way here. Either as an achievement or sign of particular driver skill, or as something that anyone should struggle to do.

If you are going to present your guide, having other people disagree with some of the steps doesn't mean they are triumphantly declaring themselves the best drivers.

re: 98.1

Yes, but that particular component isn't one real drivers do. So why bother? Breaking down all the others, fine. It makes sense and helps people learn who benefit from that approach.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 2:56 PM
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I learned to drive with a standard transmission close to the way Heebie describes. (In a parking lot before venturing forth.) No tach, so I listened/felt it. But finding the clutch point was key for me. Oh, the car also had a manual choke. More things to handle.

(Now starting on a hill, that took a bit of practice.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:04 PM
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99: Honestly, I had two teachers teach me that way, and I was unable to ever really get what was going on in a non-jerky way before we had better places to be, and I didn't bother to secure a car to practice on because I didn't understand the pieces of what I was being taught to do. Then a few years later, someone else successfully taught me, using this method, and it stuck. Later I bought a stick-shift.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:12 PM
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Yes, but that particular component isn't one real drivers do. So why bother?

It helped me learn.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:12 PM
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But of course, you probably would have learned just fine and been no longer jerky if you had to drive a stick after that initial lesson -- it would have been an annoying couple of days until it clicked.

I learned stick initially, as I was learning to drive at all, because that was what my parents had. The shifting was no problem at all to learn -- I learned basically like Matt -- but learning how to drive from my parents was rough, and ultimately not really successful. I was wound up really tight around them, and it did not turn into successful, relaxed driving behavior. I went to a driving school in Chicago to get lessons before I got a license.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:17 PM
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Standard cars I have driven have all been able to transition into 1st without my foot on the gas and they didn't stall. Mind you, those had to be smooth transitions of the clutch. Also, the car wouldn't be advancing at any great speed once the transmission was engaged. So, the gas gets put on pretty quickly.

I once experienced a broken clutch cable while a few miles from home. I quickly learned how to shift (up & down) without unclutching and without stalling. That was fun. Thank goodness for neutral.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:19 PM
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Yeah but ttaM, all you people who grew up with everyone driving stick internalized a whole bunch of it without realizing, like listening to the engine and moving the stick around. Pretty much everything that visible to the passenger (maybe not the pedals because passengers mostly aren't watching the driver's feet). But if you never ever see any of that stuff because everyone drives an automatic, then they aren't going to drive away in a stick just 'cause the instructor parked them in a parking lot.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:20 PM
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105 is probably right. I'm saying that learning stick was no thing, but of course I'd spent seventeen years watching and listening to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:22 PM
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I passed my test (after two fails) in 1977, I've driven stick ever since, and I'm *still* not a huge fan of lights on a hill in traffic. (My least favourite in London: the long slope up past Crystal Palace station to the junction -- there's always a ton of traffic including buses, everyone bunches up really close and you end up having having to do the start three or four times as you inch closer to the front of the line. Also: South London -- way outside my comfort zone. There be zombies in Penge... )

My worst gear-change incident happened in my mum's car -- a big Astra hatchback, nice to drive but wide and hard to park -- when I was reaching for the gear to shift into fourth after slowing to pass through a little village and the stick eluded my hand and... FELL OVER. I don't look when I change gear but I did look then. By absurd good chance and there was no other traffic to speak of and I was literally passing the garage she always had it serviced at, so I could glide with the clutch down across the oncoming flow, and into the pub car-park next door, before it lost momentum.

The bolt that kept it in the slot that kept it upright had worn out. Mum blamed me, she said I changed gear really clumsily and it always felt lumpish after I'd been driving it.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:27 PM
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107. And after she drove it, it didn't feel lumpish/the bolt recovered? Hrrrm.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:30 PM
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It helped me learn.

So it'll help anyone learn, hmm?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:33 PM
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And here I was, wondering how this post could possibly lead to a vibrant thread.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:34 PM
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Re internalising: I actually remember my dad somewhere in the Welsh hills deciding it was a good time to demonstrate double-declutching -- which is what you had to do to change gear before synchro-mesh was introduced -- on a car that didn't need you to double-declutch, and doing it until mum told him to stop, because he was showing off (he was) and it would damage the gears (also probably true).

(It was a different car: he'd had to give up driving because of Parkinsons long before we got the Astra.)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:36 PM
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The bolt recovered because the man at the garage replaced it.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:37 PM
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And I'll say in defense of Heebie's revving that it's absolutely true that beginners have a strong tendency to give too little gas, because they're so afraid of jackrabbiting that they fall off the other side of the horse.

Actually, when I've taught people stick (about 5 over the years, including taking AB from barely able to fully competent), my first step is having them gently take the engine up and down. IME people who learn on automatics basically gauge the gas by how fast the car is going, and have little ability to gently moderate the gas pedal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 3:51 PM
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re: 107

Yeah, the clutch on my car gave up the ghost after a hill start on a very steep hill in Malvern, at lights, when the car in front stalled just as we were moving off. Hand-brake alone wouldn't hold the car, so on lifting the foot off the foot brake and revving really hard to stop it rolling back, I over-cooked the already very old/dodgy clutch.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:03 PM
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re: 107 further.

I got stuck in traffic for 5 hours driving from Ealing to Croydon to buy a turntable. 5 hours of crawling along at 2 mph, stopping and starting. Never driven south of the river since.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:07 PM
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Hand-brake alone wouldn't hold the car
Hey, that's a recurring nightmare of mine.


Posted by: Egglant | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:23 PM
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I learned by imitating stuff I'd seen others do, only on an ass old farm truck. I did have an adventure when someone asked me to move their car and didnt tell me it wasn't an "h" pattern.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:33 PM
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But of course, you probably would have learned just fine and been no longer jerky if you had to drive a stick after that initial lesson -- it would have been an annoying couple of days until it clicked.

Oh, this is true, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:36 PM
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And I'll say in defense of Heebie's revving that it's absolutely true that beginners have a strong tendency to give too little gas, because they're so afraid of jackrabbiting that they fall off the other side of the horse.

Yeah, when I learned to ride a motorcycle the school had all the learner bikes set to idle *really* high, so that you could let the clutch out easily and figure out where the engagement point was.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 4:43 PM
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I learned to drive stick shift by buying a stick shift for my first car. A friend drove it home from the dealer for me. Kind of had to learn or that would have been a really stupid buying decision.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 5:23 PM
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You need a quiet neighborhood on a Sunday morning, and other intermediate situations.

I've mastered that. Still, the jump from that to most other everyday driving situations I might encounter - say, going across Cambridge to Trader Joe's on Sunday afternoon - was really (reallyreallyreally) stressful for me. If I didn't live in a trafficky city, maybe I'd have become a confident stick driver. As is, when we got a new car for Zardoz (four doors instead of two), we got an automatic.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 6:28 PM
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A baby can't drive a stick-shift car, obviously.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 6:55 PM
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Unless the floating-head interface can be adapted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:05 PM
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cntdrvsxtfv


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:08 PM
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A baby can't drive a stick-shift car, obviously.

They're not so great with automatic transmissions, either.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:08 PM
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I did great with the transmission if finding neutral was my goal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:19 PM
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I don't know how to drive a stick-shift, but I do know how to ski, and if they're of comparable difficulty, then there must be about a gazillion minor details that are being left out of Heebie's explanation. Heebie's way might be fine for most people, but then there are sad people like me who really need every goddamn detail to be stated explicitly.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:30 PM
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I don't know how to drive a stick-shift, but I do know how to ski, and if they're of comparable difficulty

They're not.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:45 PM
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I do know how to drive a stick shift and I don't know how to ski, and skiing looks a LOT harder.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:48 PM
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It took me most of a day to get to where I could ski slowly down the hill without falling over more than once every 15 minutes or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:50 PM
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It may be easier if you learn to ski before you are twenty. And maybe buying the special pants help. But I had a lot of trouble the one time I went skiing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 7:51 PM
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I can drive a stick shift (or could in the nineties) and can ski (badly, but I don't fall down much) and skiing is much harder. Skiing's a real athletic skill -- driving stick is a minor knack that anyone who can drive could pick up in a day or two if they had to. It might be unnerving to learn, and if you have an automatic you don't need to, but it's really not hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 8:06 PM
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And driving stick doesn't even need the special pants.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 8:07 PM
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Huh, I had no idea that skiing was harder than driving stick. I don't ski all that well, but I also don't drive all that well (even on an automatic). I think I'm basically functional in both cases, but nothing like what you see on TV.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 8:22 PM
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The thing that made it click for me was learning that the clutch engages with the engine by means of a friction plate; like brake pads in reverse (not meshing gears as most people probably imagine; that's in the transmission).


Posted by: mack | Link to this comment | 09-19-13 11:09 PM
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We recently moved to a place where driving is on the British side of the road, so I'm getting used to a car where everything is the exact opposite of where it should be. I've always driven manual, but its a good thing this one is automatic; I'm sure I'd crash if I had to work a stick shift with my left hand. Bad enough that I turn on the windshield wipers every time I try to use the blinker.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 5:59 AM
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driving stick doesn't even need the special pants.

You... you don't know about the special pants in America? No wonder you all have such a hard time with manual gearboxes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:10 AM
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I generally don't wear pants when I drive.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:24 AM
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We know and we're calling the cops if we see you again.


Posted by: Opinionated Burger King Drive-Thru Worker | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:28 AM
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81 to 138.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:30 AM
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Bah. You guys wouldn't even give me special sauce for my Whopper.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:42 AM
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re: 136

I thought I'd be like that when I drove in Greece last year.* I'd never driven in Europe before. However, apart from a couple of minutes of awkwardness at the start, it all fell together quite quickly, although it took a few hours to feel secure. I'd bet you'd find it fine within a few hours.

*Any issues were due to the sat nav sending us up tiny goat-track mountain roads in the Peloponnese. Kalamata to Kalo Nero could all be done on main roads, but no, we went right over the top via Mavrommati and Ithome.

http://goo.gl/maps/nsMeG

The road literally winds through gates like:
http://goo.gl/maps/0pbAu
and parts had the entire surface washed away by flash floods.

In retrospect, brilliant fun. But as a first hour or two driving a left-hand-drive car, a bit of a nightmare.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 6:44 AM
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Driving in Greece, I'd mostly be frightened of the other drivers. I've taken a cab there before, the guy kept crossing his chest every time we went around a switchback. Not reassuring, dude.

I'm starting to get the hang of driving on the right side of the road, though. The key to making sure you don't accidentally go into the opposite lane of traffic just to make sure you are following the car in front of you. Chances are, that guy knows what he's doing....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:30 AM
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I wonder what would happen if I tried to drive stick these days. I haven't touched one since Dr. Oops' Jetta in maybe 1996. Is it like riding a bicycle, or would I have to relearn?

This is me, exactly, except it wasn't Dr. Oops' Jetta. And I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it, because I'm close to replacing my car and would really prefer a manual (which is what I learned on, but I haven't touched on in at least 15 years). I'm sure I'd pick it up again reasonably quickly... but how quickly, exactly? Because if there's even a short learning curve, that would seem like it has the potential to make for some very unpleasant test drives at the car dealership.

How can I go about learning whether I can still smoothly drive a manual? None of my friends own one. Do I need to sign up for driving lessons?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:31 AM
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You can do it. Its like riding a bicycle.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:38 AM
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It's like riding a stick-shift bicycle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:39 AM
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Except the pedals are different.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:40 AM
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22 to 144. Really, it was no effort to relearn at all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:40 AM
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Anyway: my mom was perfectly able to drive my manual car, after not being near one for about 20 years. I think you'll be fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:41 AM
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Speaking of learning to ski, my thermometer showed temps in the 20s when I got up today.

I rented a jeep in the USVI a few years ago -- they use US cars while driving on the wrong side of the road, so I rolled down the window, and tried to keep my elbow near the brush. Shifting was normal, though. Rented a car in London to drive out to Stonehenge, which was a hoot. (Made all the more so by going with the woman I had a monster crush on as a freshman in HS but was way out of my league, and who now lives in London). Kept hitting the door when I wanted to shift.

So, Urps, you can sign up for lessons, or you can go somewhere fun.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:41 AM
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re: 143

That was my worry, too. I didn't find them particularly bad, though. Perhaps I was just lucky. A few tight shaves passing people on narrow roads where they were clearly locals and weren't going to slow down, but I don't remember any particularly bad driving. Certainly nothing much worse than I'd see driving to work.

That said, while the roads were very narrow [and also very beautiful] they weren't urban. I expect city driving would be terrifying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:42 AM
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144: I doubt you'd need classes, but be prepared for a slightly awkward test drive, depending on what you're looking at. I tested out a diesel manual a couple of years ago, and it took me a few minutes to get used to how different it was than my old manual. I think I even stalled it once, and I was really jerky into first. The sales guy seemed pretty unconcerned, luckily.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:52 AM
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Actually, urple, I'd be surprised if you had any trouble at all. I mean, one always has to get used to how starting off with any car goes -- how much gas it needs to get going, how sensitive the clutch is, that sort of thing. So the first 3 starts are always going to be a little tentative. And the first 15 times you really have to heel and toe, because that's also pretty vehicle specific. But your muscle memory and ear are going to be good enough to get through it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:54 AM
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152last is a great point. This must happen half the time that people buy a manual.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:55 AM
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Perfectly pwned. By an instructor skilled enough to teach a SO, so there's no shame in it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 7:55 AM
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The principles of skiing aren't particularly complicated, it's just that people have a hard time actually sticking to them. They instinctively turn to face in the direction of their skis, they drag one leg, they try to use their upper body to turn their skis instead of just their ankles and their knees, they try to turn their skis period rather than letting the skis turn themselves through weight and angle shifts, they don't immediately fall back into position at the end of a turn. The plus side is that the modern skis introduced in the nineties are far more forgiving than the old long almost straight sided boards.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:11 AM
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Taking this thread more general, and probably trollier: the fact that this is a conversation at all seems like an instance of how powerful a cultural convention that something is hard enough for failure to be reasonable can be. The same sort of thing that happens to perfectly reasonably intelligent students with simple math: they know that math is hard, and that there are plenty of reasonably intelligent people who purportedly can't manage algebra, so they irrevocably give up.

Seriously, the Brits are right about this -- driving stick is nothing. In the words of Woody Allen, I am at two with my body. I've never been an athlete, I don't pick up physical skills quickly, I wasn't a natural driver (particularly not in a car with my mother, not that she was misbehaving herself particularly but it really wasn't working). Any physical skill I can learn easily, you'd have to be genuinely unusual to not be able to manage, because I'm pretty close to genuinely unusually physically incapable myself.

But learning to drive, the only difficulty I had was the actual driving (as in, you know, steering and maintaining appropriate speed and changing lanes and all that sorts of thing). I was familiar with the process from watching it, but I doubt that did all that much more than make me believe it was a perfectly normal thing to be able to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:11 AM
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They instinctively turn to face in the direction of their skis

That always takes me most of the first day to remember -- I'm careening downhill wondering why this is so difficult, and then finally I remember to turn my body so I'm facing the bottom of the hill and everything snaps into place.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:13 AM
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The answer to both 156 and 157 is that it is hard to get used to one thing (skiing, stick shift) when your reflexes are tuned to another (having friction with the ground, automatic).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:13 AM
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Charley, if I were smarter, I would never have taught him and kept the fun car to myself.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:14 AM
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157. Admitting to faking it or being mediocre is pretty fraught. To troll back, I claim that there's too much contact between achievement and identity in the US. It's an unusual position for people who are successful not to identify with their success. Conversely for people who fail at something culturally valued (being upbeat and cheerful while childrearing, having marketable skills, whatever), it's unusual to be able to feel good.

Anything that is hard to learn imposes a condition of trying and failing. That condition is normal but basically a taboo in the US, unless you play off the activity as not worthy of real attention.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 8:54 AM
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161 -- good point. Also both skiing and driving a stick are skills that just don't "seem hard" at all once you're doing them, so that things click and they seem "natural." I agree that both are things that pretty much anyone (not disabled in a relevant way) can do with practice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:04 AM
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Flipping sides quickly and decisively, because I'm like that, something that hasn't been addressed at all that does make it a little hard to learn stick is that doing it wrong can actually damage the car. If you're being taught by someone who does an exaggerated flinch any time you shift a little roughly, or lectures you about the damage you can do, then that's a solid reason to have trouble with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:07 AM
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Doing skiing wrong would damage my ME.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:14 AM
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(Of course, driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a regular basis by a long shot, I realize.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:15 AM
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Too soon?


Posted by: Opinionated Sonny Bono | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:15 AM
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166 Yes


Posted by: Opinionated Natasha Richardson | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:34 AM
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The answer to both 156 and 157 is that it is hard to get used to one thing (skiing, stick shift) when your reflexes are tuned to another (having friction with the ground, automatic).

The relationship between skiing and the crystalline purity of logic, elucidated.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 9:50 AM
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re: 157

Yeah. I think I tried but failed to make that point above. That it's only cultural convention that makes it seem hard, and if everyone treats it like it's not, it's not. The analogy with maths education is a good one.

As it happens, [irrespective of my general lack of sportiness] I have quite good muscle memory, kinaesthetics/proprioception, and co-ordination for activities that involve only my body. So my balance is pretty good, I find learning complex martial arts moves quite easy, and I'm able to repeat back sequences of movements others do fairly well. On the other hand, I'm pretty crap at things like ball sports or sports that make use of a bat. I don't know where driving falls in that spectrum, but I'd be pretty definitely sure that I'm _not_ in the naturally-gifted cohort for driving.

And I was a rubbish skier, when I tried that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 10:13 AM
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107 - I'm sure we discussed south London and you know I grew up in Penge, zombie-hater. Learnt to drive up those hills to Crystal Palace. When I would drive home at 2 am, I would go down the hill on the other side of the park, and would just coast down in neutral from the tower. Could get all the way to Penge police station if the lights didn't change.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-20-13 1:04 PM
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We did discuss it, yes. The zombies are actually all in Sydenham, but Penge has a funnier name.

Took me ages even to think of the name of the hill I learned hill-driving on: Port Hill, between the Welsh Bridge and the old bypass. It's very weak sauce compared to Crystal Palace and I'm jealous. Shrewsbury is built on a hill or two (in the loop of a river) but they're not not the ones anyone learns on, because it's town centre and it would be mad to learn to drive there.

(And in fact it's mostly pedestrianised now.)

(I forgot you grew up in Penge, asilon, sorry about that. My best friend lived there for a while, but she moved to Beckenham, which is also a less funny name.)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 3:45 AM
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Skiing was very easy for me to learn. But I have very good balance and am a good ice skater (played hockey for two years). I just had to learn not to let the tips of the skis cross and otherwise it was like skating.

I started to learn stick, but never fully learned it. It's exactly the sort of thing I'm bad at learning.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 6:57 AM
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172 -- Ever try snow blades? A friend's kids had them a few years ago, and what fun they had. (On big groomers, though, so one wouldn't really want them at our hill.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 7:07 AM
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Certainly nothing much worse than I'd see driving to work.

British driving is more like Greek driving than American driving (I know, not exactly an original insight). Americans largely expect traffic to be moving at a relatively constant speed, no unexpected obstacles in the way, and two wide lanes at all times. That's just not the case in Europe. For example, I live on a fairly large main road out of town, with room for two lanes of traffic (theoretically) and parking on one side of the street. Yesterday, stepping out to the car, I watched a semi-truck reverse half way up the hill because it met another semi-truck; meanwhile, traffic was stopped going up and multiple cars were reversing up the hill to make room for the truck. I can't think of a place where you'd see that in the US, but it happens all the time here. Driving in the UK/Europe requires constant vigilance! (I also can't get over the idea of parking on whatever side of the road you like, regardless of what direction you were originally driving. It makes it very confusing when you're getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road.)

I've taught loads of people to drive stick, mostly with a combination of Heebie's method and the one ttaM describes. I'm very glad I learned on a manual, as I think it made it easier than learning later in life. (Also, I'm better prepared for driving in the UK. Not that I've set about getting my license here yet, after my ability to drive on my American license expired.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:22 PM
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157.2 is very true for me as well. I used to be quite proud that driving manual was one thing that involved coordination that I was actually good at.

(The other day I claimed to have uncoordinated hands, which I've always found to be true, when my father in law called bullshit on me, because I am a quick typist. Somehow, typing just feels different to me, but now I'm wondering if I just need more practice at everything.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:26 PM
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