My Secret Shame......I Can't Drive Stick Shift

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Phil_L, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Phil_L

    Phil_L Second Unit

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    OK, I think I am ready to admit it. I can't drive stick. this is particularly embarrassing for a car buff like myself. When I learned to drive my parents only owned automatic cars and that's all I've ever owned.

    Do you think there are driving schools out there that offer lessons to teach experienced drivers how to drive a manual transmission?

    I have a friend who offered to teach me but I'd rather not ruin his clutch.
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    It's not hard. I learned to drive on a Chevy Luv pickup in the middle of a field. The next day I was driving a 24 foot flatbed truck with a 3 speed transmission and a creeper gear. Not bad for a 12 year old.

    -Robert
     
  3. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    Scary Larry Hirsch told me a long time ago that in order to Be A Man, you must either drive a stick or be heavily tattooed.

    It probably would have been far less painful to just suck it up and learn how to drive a stick. [​IMG]

    MC
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Robert there are advantages of growing up on a farm aren't there[​IMG] I learned to drive a manual on the tractors and trucks around the same age.

    Anyway yes there should be pro training centers that will teach you but honestly I'd take your friend up on the offer and give it a try in an open parking lot and see how it goes. Its really not difficult to get the hang of it to the point where you can progress onto the roads (at least less busy roads)
     
  5. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    18 years of driving and I don't know either. I've got 2, does that count??? LOL
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Only if they're really big Yakuza style tattoos.

    Just buy a $200 motorbike off somebodys lawn, putt around in the Kroger parking-lot, and sell the bike after you've mastered the manual transmission.
     
  7. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I agree with advice to take your friend up on the offer. It's not hard to learn to drive a stick. Make sure you are on level ground at an empty parking lot. The most difficult part is learning to take off on an incline without rolling back. It's pretty easy to master the basics right away.
     
  8. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Most people probably learned how to drive stick while they were learning how to drive. Since you already know how to drive and are free to focus on the shifting then it should be a peice of cake. I say just ruin your friend's clutch. Those things can tolerate sloppy shifting. No problemo. After an hour or so you should be able to drive without stalling.

    I am however curious as to why you are trying to learn? Nobody really needs to learn stick. You can go through your whole life without needing to know. Just like some people go through their whole lives in the USA never learning English.[​IMG] [​IMG]

    Well, to be honest, lack of stick knowledge did cause one of the teams on MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge to lose a mission. Could that be the reason you are learning?[​IMG]
     
  9. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Take your friend up on his offer. Unless you are a total maniac you won't put too much wear on his clutch. 80% of learning stick is getting the car to move from a neutral stop to a smooth forward motion in 1st gear. Each gear after that is successively easier to get into (since the car is already moving along at a better and better clip.)

    I just learned 5 speed stick about 2 years ago. It took about 2 months to get really good at it but I was able to drive (badly) after just 2-3 'practice' runs in parking lots. I used to drive forklifts for a living too. But those things had ultra forgiving clutches and you were almost always on level ground when carrying stuff.
     
  10. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    Many years ago, I haven't driven for so long that I took refresher courses just to "remember" how to drive well enough to pass the driving test (yes, I did let my license expire for that long). And driving schools do offer these courses. After all, a buck is a buck.

    I took four courses in all, three to refresh my driving skills and one to try out stick shift driving. The instructor went out of his way to make sure I had to make a left turn at a traffic light on a hill with a huge truck on my ass!

    How many times did I stall already? [​IMG]
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I don't know how to drive manual either. My friend has offered to teach me, but we haven't gotten around to it. It would only come in handy so I can borrow his truck and not have to have him come along and play chauffeur.
     
  12. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    I agree completely that you are a girly man if you can't drive a stick.[​IMG]

    Get out there and learn.

    Then after you learn, go to a country where they drive on the wrong side of the road, and learn to drive a stick there. Then you are a real man.[​IMG]

    Plus, you will be set to be a contestant on the Amazing Race. It is funny watching those stupid contestants try to shift, when it is obvious they don't know how to.
     
  13. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    It always amazed me that driving schools and drivers ed classes don't include manual shifting in the courses. It's not like they don't make them anymore.

    It's not hard to learn. A few years ago I gave my last one to my stepdaughter when she went off to college. I told her that if she wanted the car, she had to learn how to drive it. She was driving it within three days.

    Then there was the time I tried to teach my wife how to drive one and........... No, I better not go there. Needless to say both of our cars have been automatics since then.
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    My name is Joe, and I'm a stick-ophobic.

    [All]: Hi Joe!

    [​IMG]

    Learned to drive a stick in high school and haven't driven one since. None of my female relatives can drive a stick and it has always been understood that when somebody's car is in the shop we share - and if I owned something with a manual transmission, I'd be out of the loop. So I never really thought about buying a car with a standard transmission (or what used to be standard*) and my skills with a clutch and stick have long-since atrophied.

    (* Saturn elimated the old three speed manual transmission and made the automatic transmission from the company's beginning. The theory was that nobody ever bought the three or four speed manual transmissions, so there was no point in even manufacturing them or offering them as an option. Most people prefer automatics. Those who like to drive manual transmissions like to shift and go for the five speed tranny - which is the extra cost option.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  15. Bonnie*F

    Bonnie*F Stunt Coordinator

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    If you have the interest and a friend willing to let you learn on his vehicle...go for it. The friend is not concerned about the clutch so you shouldn't be.
    I learned on a boyfriend's TR7 out in Illinois when the only thing between here and the next ten miles was a stop sign. I had problems with getting out of neutral into first gear ("You'll just know when to release the clutch and give it gas" I didn't know!)
    I took one lesson from a professional driving school to basically learn from neutral into first and starting on an incline. He explained it so that I could understand it (watch the gages...ohhh) and I was tooling around like an old hand in less than 20 minutes. Held it at the top of a hill at the stop light with a touch of concern for the cars behind me but only rolled about 6 inches back.
    I had a manual transmission vehicle for about 5 years before getting an automatic - carpal tunnel syndrome more than not liking the stick. I've helped a couple of friends move since the truck they've rented was manual and I was one of the few people they knew that could drive stick.
    Knowledge is rarely ever wasted. It's like riding a bike: you may never get on another one in twenty years but you remember how to ride it.
    Good luck!
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I've been driving a stick-shift for over 20 years now. I get really bored driving an automatic when I'm driving someone else's car. It's not that hard to learn, but it does take some practice if you're not naturally coordinated.

    My dad had me learn in a large empty parking lot one day, and then the very next day he had me driving on the interstate and inside the city. That was some white-knuckle driving, but ever since then, I've felt pretty at ease behind the wheel.

    I had my share of conk-outs, but once you "get" it, conking out is a rare occurrence. Just do it.
     
  17. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    Automatics are for people that have given up on life.

    Just kidding, of course. [​IMG]


    In my 12 years of liscenced driving, I have owned 1 auto, and I hated it. Sure, I enjoyed the luxery of not having to be bothered with driving, but it numbed my brain and dulled my senses. Manual transmissions are what I want.

    With the top shelf german and italian manufactureres showing that their paddle-shift / tiptronic gearboxes outperform a manual tranny in every way, its only a matter of time before the fully manual gearbox will be gone. The domestic and asian manufacturers wil soon come up with their own versions.

    As a raging motorhead, I fear when that day will come, but at the same time, I appreciate the march forward of technology.

    I too, grew up on a farm, and was driving a Kenworth before I could drive a Chevy. My first real vehicle was a 1966 Ford F100 with a 4 speed in-line 6. Learning to drive on a carborated, rear wheel drive, 4 speed manual transmission certainly gives you an appreciation for what it means to own and drive a motor vehicle. You have to have a working knowledge of basic car mechanics if you want to get anywhere. [​IMG]

    If you cant drive a manual, dont bother learning unless you are a driving enthusiast, or are looking for bragging rights 20 years from now.

    "When I drove, we had to shift ON OUR OWN!"

    Personally, I think that TRUE driving skill is becoming a lost art. Basic mechanics is one thing, but applying that knowlodge to getting the most out of your automobile is the next step.

    Everyone is looking for a car that seperates the driver from the driving experience. The mentality is: The ride should be casual and un-obtrusive. Smooth runing, smoothriding... You should be in a semi-unconscious state while driving. Not feeling the bumps in the road, never being bothered with mechanical problems.

    Current marketing and media focus seem to put the emphasis on looks and status, and less on ACTUAL performance. When I watch shows like MTV cribs and the like, everyone is driving what they THINK is THE ride to have. Usually, I think its glitzy crap.

    Guess what folks, 22 inch wheels, 18" woofers and tvs in your car are not "mods"... theyre "luxeries."

    In a way, Im glad that this is what the media focuses on. Leave the crap to the masses. True enthusiasts will always be a small crowd.

    If you want to learn the art (yes, I said ART) of driving, get a manual. That is just the first step. The second step is something that wil happen if you think driving a car is something pretty cool, and want to get the maximum out of it.

    Amen, Patrick.

    Just do it.


    Holy crap... what rant. :b
     
  18. Wendy_L

    Wendy_L Supporting Actor

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    I can give you a good reason to learn. You go out with a friend in their car, which is a stick, and they proceed to get too drunk to drive home and you are stuck sleeping in a parking lot somewhere because you don't know how to drive a stick shift.

    I can't tell you how many times that happened to me while I was in the military. ALL of my friends had stick shifts and I didn't know how to drive one.

    Now ask me if I ever learned to drive a stick. The answer would be, "No." :b But I still want to learn.
     
  19. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I remember when I was getting my licence, I thought I would never be able to drive stick. I thought it would be impossible to keep track of what's going on on the road and be able to think about what gear I was in.

    But, it really becomes a subconscious thing pretty quickly. Now I prefer manual transmission. I remember when I bought my car, I requested it be manual and the dealer looked at me in disbelief.

    The only drawbacks to driving stick is, it's difficult to eat or talk on the cell phone when you're driving in stop and go traffic and manual tranny cars also tend to have lower trade-in values due to the stick-o-phobes out there.

    Now.. driving a stick to the service station when the clutch is gone... now that's excitement. [​IMG]
     
  20. Phil_L

    Phil_L Second Unit

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    Thanks for the tips guys and gals. I want to buy a used convertible to drive on the weekends and all the good ones are either stick-only or harder to find in an auto. I want to get a used Boxster or something like that to tool around in, so I figure learning stick is a prerequisite. Plus, it could come in handy in other situations, like being a designated driver.

    So, I think I'll take the leap and throw caution to the wind. Of course, that means I will have to give up eating a big mac, drinking a big, talking on my phone, shaving and playing with the radio at the same time.
     

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