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Old 07-22-2013, 03:32 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,192 posts, read 7,283,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
As for the OP question, I would say that 90% could figure out within a few blocks how to drive s stick if their life depended on it, but maybe only 10% could spend a whole day in traffic feeling comfortable with it.

I wonder how many Americans could rent a stick at Heathrow and drive it out into London traffic, shifting with their left hand.
I agree with you on the percentage.

I currently have one vehicle with a stick; I first drove when I was young and living in the UK and I have flown into both Heathrow and Glasgow from the US and rented cars on several occasions.

I always do a couple of orbits around the rental car parking lot (or, more correctly, car park ) first to get a feel for it, before venturing into the roundabouts and traffic and motorways. It does feel very strange at first but I find I'm concentrating so hard on not screwing up and staying on the left side of the road that it becomes quite easy within a matter of hours.

Although I have to remind myself not to drive on the middle line; lane placement feels really "off" at first.
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Funkotron, MA
1,035 posts, read 1,010,550 times
Reputation: 1406
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
In 2003, i graduated college and bought a brand new Mustang GT. It was a stick. I knew the idea of how to drive a stick, but had never done so. I bought the car anyway, and drove it home fine. Stalled a few times, but made sure to stay off highways and such til i was comfortable. 3 days later I was driving it fine. Now it's like riding a bike.

Sadly, MOST people I know do not know how to drive stick, or want to even try. Those i manage to convince to try it stall it a couple time, proclaim it stupid, and give up. .
I had driven a manual transmission maybe a total of 10 minutes in a parking lot before buying my first manual transmission car. I stalled a few times on the way home, but made it. I drove around the neighborhood for an hour or so and that was all I needed to feel comfortable in traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
I always thought it was good to learn because you never know if you are in a situation where someone with a stick car can't drive (intoxicated, medical emergency, etc) and you need to drive for them.
Good point. It actually helped me out once. I went to a party with three other friends and the kid that drove us ended up getting drunk. I was the only person other than the driver who could drive a manual. So I was able to safely get everyone home.

Plus, it's just a good skill to have. You'll be the envy of all your friends!
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:53 PM
 
1,904 posts, read 1,178,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
I always thought it was good to learn because you never know if you are in a situation where someone with a stick car can't drive (intoxicated, medical emergency, etc) and you need to drive for them.


I had to drive from Boulder to Stapleton Airport to pick up my roommate because the guy who was going to do the driving couldn't drive a manual transmission.


I got my driver's license about 4 months later.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:24 PM
 
364 posts, read 203,261 times
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I prefer a manual transmission. Growing up riding motorcycles off-road from early childhood made the transition easy, as I had an understanding of the principles of manual shifting from eight years old. I know most people aren't as fortunate.

I think a lot of this has to do with what kind of a person you are. Is your vehicle simply an appliance to get from A to B, or do you enjoy driving? Do you enjoy the mechanical dance that is rowing through the gears on a nice day on a twisty road?

I believe driving a manual transmission, or at least knowing how to, makes people better drivers in general. They're more in touch with what the car is doing, and they tend to understand the feedback inputs they're getting from the road.

*Edit* The OP's question: I think sales figures in the US are less than 10% for manual transmissions now. My dad bought a new Chevy Cruze for my mom last summer. When he not only asked for a manual, but a manual at his wife's demand, the salesman looked at him like he had three eyes. I don't even think the salesman knew how to drive a stick. Americans are lazy in general, and most can't be bothered with having to shift, it seems.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:59 PM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,755 posts, read 4,753,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Internet nut View Post
I recently traveled to Costa Rica and attempted to rent a car. After all the paperwork was filled out the man took me to my car. It was manual transmission! I told him I did not know how to drive a stick shift car. He acted like I was crazy and then told me that in this small tourist town, that was the only car they rented. They told me I would have to go to the Capital City, San Jose CR if I wanted to rent an automatic transmission. Even there only a few cars are automatic.

He acted like I was the only American he ever met who did not know how to drive a stick shift car. I am in my 50s and have driven since I was 16 years old.

Do you drive a stick shift car? What percent of Americans could drive one who have a drivers license?
At your age haven never driven a manual trans in your life, I would have laughed at you too. You're old enough to remember when it was difficult to find a car WITHOUT a manual.

Automatic transmissions are purely an American thing, because when it comes to cars, we're lazy and stupid. They've even been making automatic semi trucks for quite some time now!

No better time than now to learn how.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:02 PM
 
1,239 posts, read 821,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid Sword View Post
Do you enjoy the mechanical dance that is rowing through the gears on a nice day on a twisty road?
This is a perfect description of why I like driving a stick. A mechanical dance. Love it!
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Warm Springs, GA
1,457 posts, read 2,053,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I wonder how many Americans could rent a stick at Heathrow and drive it out into London traffic, shifting with their left hand.
I had my first go at it in Oct 2011 (Ireland though, picked up the car in downtown Dublin). The worst part was remembering to keep left at intersections, and wondering if they observe the 'right/left on red' thing we do in the States. I'd forgotten all about it within an hour or so (and had a few laughs when my wife went to get into the drivers side on accident), it was the narrowness of the roads that kept my attention.

I learned on a manual, it's all my folks had. Heck, my first vehicle needed to be double-clutched (this was 1990), but it was an old '50s farm truck. I taught my wife within the first year we were married when she was 26 and she's sold on them now at 35 after 9 years with the car she learned on. I always get in trouble when driving an auto, that left foot just has a mind of it's own and I'll try to put the clutch in (and catch the brake) at least once every time I'm in one.


It's too bad you just can't seem to get most vehicles in a manual anymore. If you can, they're Only available on the base trim level. I hate thinking that I'll most likely be forced out of a manual when next we buy a car.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: California
63 posts, read 36,865 times
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My father taught me to drive with a stick shift and ever since then all, but one car I have owned was a stick shift. My current car has 6 gears and I love it!

A kind of funny story...when I was 18 or 19 I was kind of seeing this guy and wanted to go home for the weekend to see my family (about a 5-6 hr drive). I invited him, expecting him to help with the driving, but when he told me he couldn't drive a stick shift, it so emasculated him in my eyes I couldn't wait for the weekend to be over, so I could stop seeing him.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Funkotron, MA
1,035 posts, read 1,010,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquid Sword View Post
The OP's question: I think sales figures in the US are less than 10% for manual transmissions now.
I really do wonder though - if manufacturers offered more manual transmission, would that number increase?

There are driving enthusiasts out there that prefer manual transmissions. Unfortunately, most manuals are only available for the base models instead of the sportier cars. Two good examples: Cadillac ATS and the Lexus IS 300. Manuals are available for the base models, but the larger engines only have an automatic transmission. I think they're missing out on customers. And do they really expect to compete with the BMW 3 series with only an auto available?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnsleepy View Post
A kind of funny story...when I was 18 or 19 I was kind of seeing this guy and wanted to go home for the weekend to see my family (about a 5-6 hr drive). I invited him, expecting him to help with the driving, but when he told me he couldn't drive a stick shift, it so emasculated him in my eyes I couldn't wait for the weekend to be over, so I could stop seeing him.
I remember when I was a teenager, a friend of mine's dad had a Camaro. I loved Camaros at the time, but when I found out it was an automatic I lost a lot of respect for him. It just wasn't as bad ass anymore.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Wappingers Falls, NY
1,053 posts, read 804,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raveabouttoast View Post
I really do wonder though - if manufacturers offered more manual transmission, would that number increase?
No. The reason most manufacturers offer so few manuals is because people stopped buying them, and they just tend to sit on the lots. The market has spoken.


Sent from my LG Optimus G Pro using Tapatalk 2.
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