Opinion: Learning to drive stick shift makes people better drivers

Filed under: Etc., Safety

Sports Car Six Speed Shifter

Maybe, just maybe, it’s safer and better for every road user if we all know how the gears that make the wheels go round ratchet up.

There are an increasing number of endangered species in this turbulent world of ours, but none is rushing to extinction faster than the driver who can get from A to B in a stick-shift car. The art of mastering how to navigate through the H-gate is almost completely lost on the latest generation of car buyers. It’s a troublesome and worrying thing.

Today’s story, dear reader, is not a rant about how stick is the purest form of driving and needs preserving at all costs – like some enthusiast magazines who like cars and drivers might banner wave over – this is a thought that maybe, just maybe, it’s safer and better for every road user if we all know how the gears that make the wheels go round ratchet up.

You don’t learn to ride a horse without knowing how the reins work and you don’t sail a boat without understanding the rigging. Yet we see a driving license as a birthright, and it’s an automatic assumption we can drive a car.

If you have a teenager learning to drive right now, wouldn’t you prefer they were taught to be more like the pilot of that mechanical masterpiece rather than the autopilot passenger?

Geoff Day has been called the “Pied Piper” of the auto industry, leading auto journalists on wild rides around the globe in his position as former director of communications for Mercedes-Benz USA. Before that, he worked at DaimlerChrysler UK on its PR efforts, and rubbed elbows with the Queen of England in his role at the Buckingham Palace Press Office. His phone is filled with the numbers of the great, the good and the bad. His head is filled with dirty little secrets hiding in many corners of the auto industry.

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Learning to drive stick shift makes people better drivers originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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