Diaries Magazine

Learning to Drive Stick Shift

By Mikidemann @mikidemann

Learning to Drive Stick Shift

Learning to drive a stick shift was a big challenge for me. I am an outgoing person when it comes to meeting new people, but when it comes to operating a car that is julting and dying it definitely brought out a very timid side of me.
When I was 16, my older brother and a few friends had stick shifts, they tried to Once I was going, I was usually fine, but starting the car was always a horrible experience. My go-to instinct when things are going poorly is to let go of everything. I would pull my feet off the pedals and throw my hands up in the air, which of course, kills the car.
I gave up. My car was automatic, so I didn’t care enough at the time.
When we found my Scion TC about 2 years ago. I loved this car and knew I'd be the bees knees driving it. I had to make it mine! The bad news was it was stick shift and we were buying from a private seller so there weren’t options. We went to do the test drive and Jared drove as I sat in the passenger seat and fiddled with everything within my reach. A few days later we met the sellers at the bank and did all the paperwork and bam, just like that Linus (my cars name) was mine. The only thing was, I couldn’t drive him.
Learning to Drive Stick Shift
Jared drove Linus home and I drove his car. We got home, Jared dropped me off with the new car and went back to work. I sat outside admiring my sweet purchase, but knowing I couldn't drive was making me nuts. I called my older brother, Brennon, and begged him to come teach me. He always comes to the rescue. He drove right over and took me to a parking lot. He had me hop into the drivers seat and started to explain how a stick shift works. “You need your clutch to catch”… What does that mean?? “You’ll feel it” I feel scared to death! “Slowly put your foot on the clutch and release the gas slowly, you’ll feel your clutch grab and you can switch gears”. This all sounded like mandarin to me. Being in the drivers seat with his instruction was working, because I started to get it. I could start my car and switch gears, so I felt on top of the world! I started to feel the sweet spot where gas and clutch meet, so I knew when it was okay to release or when I needed to give it more gas.
Then the hardest part of all... hill starts. Brennon took me to a road with a small hill and had me start the car. I would feel my car roll backwards and go into a panic and slam on the breaks and kill my car. Maybe we were a bit too ambitious to tackle hill starts right now, so we went home and called it a victory.
For the first few weeks of driving, I would take roads that I knew would give me no trouble. I had anxiety every time I hit a stop light or stop sign. I killed my car hundreds of times and had at least 2 or 3 breakdowns and waived people to go around me as I teared up in my car. The pressure of other drivers was horrible. Drivers are so impatient, especially when you can't start your car and it's blocking traffic. I remember getting to my house and being stoked to leave me car and the anxiety that came with it. The anxiety started to get smaller and smaller the more I drove. After work, I'd make Jared go on drives with me and anytime we were going anywhere I insisted on driving my car. I started to feel better about my stick shift driving skills.
Learning to Drive Stick Shift
The real test came when I was at an event for work. I had to park in a parking garage. Getting out there is a steep hill, with the attendant and cars are really close behind you. There is no room for error or you'll roll back into another car. I was panicking the whole event thinking about leaving, making sure my insurance was up to date, because I knew I was going to roll into another car. Turns out, I might of revved the gas a bit, but I made it out. After that I decided to give myself the title of master. I mastered driving a stick shift.
Now 2 1/2 years later, I love my car. I get into an automatic and can't remember what to do with my left foot. There have also been a few times when we've been places and we needed a driver to move a car and the car was stick shift. There is usually only a few people who actually know how to drive a stick shift and I love being one of those!

Do you know how to drive a stick shift? Do you like Driving a stick shift?

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