After my first lesson on how to drive shift stick, I cried. I knew there was no way I’d figure it out, and Molly the Mustang would have to go back where she came from. I started off in the K-State football stadium parking lot with bare feet so I could feel the shift positions. Getting the car started in first was my biggest problem. If I ever actually got the car going, I was good. Eventually I figured it out and even though I drive an automatic, manual driving is still second nature. Here are some lessons I learned along the way.
1. Don’t panic Every red light sent me into a frenzy knowing I’d have to start in first all over again. Especially when the driver behind me looked hurried. But they can go around you. Ignore the horns and keep your inner calm. The more frustrated you get, the less likely you are to actually generate any forward motion.
2. The steeper the hill, the lower the gear.
3. Take care when parking on a hill. Learn how to turn the wheels toward the curb and never ever forget the emergency brake.
4. Learn barefoot. This was a tip from my mom, and definitely helped get the feel for when a shift was needed.
5. Remember it will be like riding a bike soon. I never thought I could drive without stalling or without giving my passengers whiplash. The only time I struggle now is on a steep hill with lots of starting and stopping. And I haven’t given anyone neck aches in years.
Did learning to drive stick come naturally to you?LWTK’s mommy blogger, Sarah, is attempting to be a good mama to little Henry, wife to Shea, full-time employee and part-time grad student all while avoiding making dinner from a box every night. In her non-existent free time, she’s running, eating popcorn and blogging about it all at The Gatsby Diaries.