Manual Labour: 7 Reasons You Should Drive Stick
If you’ve got car lovers in your circle, the manual vs automatic debate has most likely popped up at least a few times. The manual people see the drivers of automatic cars as wusses, while the automatics see the stick-shifters as full of themselves. The only resolution of the debate is to change the subject. Before we continue, we want to apologize the driver’s of automatic cars out there – that stick shifters are onto something. There are some indisputable benefits of driving manual cars. That’s not to say they are superior to automatic transmissions, but they do offer some unique advantages to you as a driver. And trust us, they’re worth having.
1. More intimate knowledge of your car
Most people know how to drive a car without really knowing how to drive a car. Sounds like a riddle doesn’t it? But the reality is, that most drivers only have a working knowledge of what their car is doing while in motion. And that’s fine. However, if you really want to know what your car is doing in the moment – that is, how engine power is shifting to the wheels, the effect of each gear transition – then you’ll want to drive stick. You’ll get quick feedback on how your car responds when pushed uphill, making turns, or even just accelerating.
2. No distracted driving
For many people, driving is boring because you’re basically doing nothing. Sure, you’re making turns and changing lanes and what not, but your mind is likely to drift. So people multitask. They start exhibiting all the symptoms of distracted driving such as, texting, trying to eat a snack, and maybe even add a few dabs of makeup. Generally, they’re drivers of automatic cars. When driving manual vehicles, however, there’s no room for such distractions. You need to be engaged – you need to pay attention to your speed, the timing of your gear shifts, and the terrain. What does that mean? No time or room for checking text messages or personal grooming!
3. Less people will ask to borrow it
It’s noble to be charitable, letting others to borrow your car, but you’ve gotta have limits. We’ve all heard stories where friends lent their cars to the wrong hands – the results may be mildly embarrassing vignettes worthy of telling at a bar, or tragic tales that end up in the evening news. So if you’re paranoid about someone misusing your vehicle, make sure it’s one that few people can drive. That’s usually a manual car. In fact, a lot of people, when asking to borrow someone’s car, they may ask, “is it manual or auto?”. And it makes sense because they don’t want to jump in the front seat of a vehicle they can’t drive. On a more serious note, manual cars are less likely to get stolen, and that too is a benefit worth your consideration.
4. Can drive anywhere in the world
If you travel to another country, there are three things to learn in advance: 1) The native language, 2) Their local customs, and 3) Driving stick-shift. Manual transmission is the standard for automobiles in various countries, including those in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. So if you plan on touching down on any of these continents for a while, and plan to drive abroad, it’s worth your while to learn how to drive stick before globetrotting. Of course, there are alternatives to driving in another country, such as taking public transit or a taxi. But it may not be as fun as driving on foreign soil.
5. You’ll have more control over your vehicle
With an automatic car, a lot of your car’s performance is out of your hands. A manual transmissions turns that around. When driving stick, much of your car’s performance depends on you. For example, choosing when to downshift or upshift is a decision that will come from your own brain, not a computer. You get minimal assistance. The beauty of this goes beyond the ego. You’ll see where and when it’s best to drive in certain gears, which can reap benefits in terms of fuel economy. Additionally, manual cars experience less wear-and-tear (meaning less maintenance), not to mention they are usually cheaper than automatic cars.
6. Fill in the role as emergency driver
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to drive someone else’s car, the ability to drive manual can be a major asset. Here’s a scenario: You and your friends had a night out, and for some reason, your designated driver surpassed his limits for drinks. He’s wobbling and slurring his words. To make matters worse, you’re all stranded downtown, with no bus fare, and he drives a manual car. And the only one sober enough to drive is you. Hopefully, you’d know how to drive stick. There are tons of other crisis scenarios here as well – medical emergencies where a friend or family member is unable to drive means that someone else has to step up. As you can see, the skill of driving manual cars can turn into a lifeline, or at least a way out of a transportation conundrum.
7. Bragging rights
Let’s be honest – it’s cool showing off your precision and finesse when shifting gears. You’ve most likely seen this action. It’s easy to admire that person who is focused, and knows exactly when to change gears no matter the weather or road conditions ahead of him or her. Of course, that takes some practice. With time, however, your movements get smoother, and you’ll stall far less than when you started. And within a matter of weeks, your skills will improve drastically. That’s where you can join in with the “gifted” few who can drive manual cars, and tell them that they’re not the only ones.
It’s Worth Switching Gears
If you currently drive an automatic car, cherish it. No one is telling you that you have to graduate by moving onto a manual car (although your friends might tell you otherwise). And ultimately, driving stick won’t necessarily make you a better driver, or even guarantee that you’ll get more out of your car. However, there are benefits that come with learning to drive a manual car. Many of them are related primarily to the driving experience itself, but there are some practical reasons for learning to drive stick as well. Whether you decide to learn it or not, don’t let others get to you. There are a million other ways to show off your manual dexterity (pun intended).