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We are entering a time that is fascinating to watch; a time when cars can drive themselves. However, that doesn’t mean that knowing how to drive and giving yourself options isn’t important. Automatic vehicles are easier and more common on the roads but driving a stick is not as uncommon as one may think. While we transition into the future of driving, it’s important to remember that any situation could arise. Having the tools to manage those situations is important. Teach your teen how to drive a stick, so they’re prepared for any possibility.

Driving a stick may be less common, but it’s a skill you need to be a good driver.

Cars may be on the road to driving themselves but driving a stick is a skill everyone should continue to have in their tool belts.

Automatic Vs. Stick

Driving a stick is very different than driving an automatic vehicle. An automatic vehicle shift gears for the driver, making driving easier. A stick requires the driver to shift gears while driving. Some benefits to a stick shift car include easier maintenance, better gas mileage, fewer oil changes, and they’re usually cheaper than their automatic counterparts. Another advantage to driving a stick is that it requires more attention be paid to driving. If you’re forced to pay attention to shifting gears, you’re less likely to allow for other distractions. There are two main challenges to driving a stick shift vehicle; the first is learning how to shift gears and the second is mastering shifting into first gear.

How to Shift Gears

To shift gears, the driver must utilize a third foot pedal, the clutch. One of the best ways to get prepared is to practice shifting gears while the car is off and the parking brake ignited. Have your teen depress the clutch and hold it down. Once the clutch is down practice shifting through each gear until they can memorize placement for the desired speed. Once you’ve got all the other gears down, move onto the second challenge; first gear.

Driving a Stick

First Gear

Possibly the most important gear is first gear. Before you can move forward and into other gears drivers need to get through first. The problem is that when you’re learning to drive a stick, first gear is often the hardest one to learn. First, have your teen shift into neutral. Depress the clutch and the brake pedal and start the vehicle. Once the car has started, release the parking brake and move the gear shift to first gear. Slowly release the clutch, and when the vehicle begins to move forward, you’ve reached the sweet spot. With the clutch in the sweet spot, move your foot over to the gas pedal and slowly start to depress. Now you can let the clutch go completely and continue to press the gas. While this sounds easy, it will take some time to get familiar with the process.

Practice these driving skills in a safe location; an empty parking lot works best. When learning how to drive a stick, there is also a risk to the vehicle’s systems. Be aware that damage can be done without intention. Once you’ve learned how to drive a stuck car, you will be a better-prepared driver.

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