New Drivers: Stick vs Auto

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by UroTrash, May 31, 2004.


Should teens learn on a Manual or Automatic?

  1. Teens should learn on an Auto first, then switch to manual later on

  2. They should learn on a manual from the beginning

  3. With paddles shifters and manumatics coming, no need to learn manual at all.

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 20, 2004
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    I have 4 daughters, one of which has her license, one of which has her permit, 2 are still young. We live in a very mountainous place.

    Do you think it is better for them to learn on a manual from the very beginning or should they get the basics down first on the automatic, and a few months later switch to the manual?

    I did the latter with my first daughter, beginning with an Accord, and dangling a 5 speed Miata as the carrot to learn to get shifty.

    Second daughter used the Miata from the word go (she was used to shifting a dirt bike).

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  3. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Sep 5, 2001
    Panther City, Texas
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    Manual tranny all the way, I believe that the driver is concentrating more of their surroundings & actions with a manual transmission.
  4. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    Full Name:
    I say it depends on the car.
    I too learned on dirtbikes.
    I first drove autos, simply because that's what my parents had.
    First manual I ever drove was a P-car 993 TT ... and the change went unnoticed (to me and other users of the road). On the other hand, I had a hard time in a buddy's rusted up Justy that wouldn't shift (hard to pay attention to the road when you're kicking the shifter with both feet!!! LMAO).

    All have pros and cons ...
    Auto, well, super easy in traffic, no clutch, but you can't feel much on the highway (that's what bothered the most at first)
    Manual, you just have to be comfy with the clutch, and maybe twisty roads, no powersteering, big car and small arms could be a bad mix ...

    Very honestly, I think auto or manual should be of no concern. They should first have the basics of how a car works and drives (kinda like a racer's training!). The only thing to make sure is drive both, to understand each's downside and adapt their driving to it (especially brakes in the mountains).

    My 0,02$ ...

    PS ... your daughter rides dirtbikes uh? Is she single? MOUHAHAHAHA! Keep it up!
  5. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Yeah, she's single.....and 15 y.o.!
  6. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
    Learn to skip and chew gum at the same time.
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  8. imperial83

    imperial83 F1 Rookie

    May 14, 2004
    manual is the way to go.
  9. vraa

    vraa F1 Rookie
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    Oct 31, 2003
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    Mr. A
    Oh how i wish I had a manual to learn on.. :(
  10. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    Tauranga, NZ
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    You never actually learn or understand what is going on with a car and proper understanding of vehicle dynamics if you learn in an auto.

    You will learn simply that a car has a go and a stop switch, you will not learn about engine braking, correct throttle during corners (as an auto may up change ... thus you just cruise everywhere).

    I personally think this knowledge is important to making a driver safer as they have better control of their vehicle than one that simply thinks in 'Go' and 'Stop' mode.

    EDIT: Even the horrible paddle shifters still teach you about engine braking, throttle control, etc. because the understanding of gearing is still there, just the change is done for you ...
  11. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
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    Dec 9, 2002
    Houston, TX
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    Manual all the way! I wouldn't have wanted to learn any other way!
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  13. Tyler

    Tyler F1 Rookie

    Dec 19, 2001
    dusty old farm town
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    Manual is the only way to go baby! The first time I drove an automatic was Drivers Ed. I grew up in a houslehold that favors manual transmission cars so that helped.

    FWIW, besides learning to drive a manual first. I believe one of the best invesments you can make in a young driver is a good DE event or performance driving school. Too many kids don't realize how fast things can get out of control and even fewer know what to do if things do go south. Learning the limits of an automobile in safe surroundings can leave young drivers with a new sense of respect for their car.
  14. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia Canada
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    #11 62 250 GTO, Jun 1, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I love shifting gears. But most "kids" don't love driving like we do and most "kids" are busy with the radio, friends, speeding and trying to look cool. I say start with an auto, to learn how to make proper corners and to get a feel of what people will do in front of you etc.... I wouldn't give a new driver a real wheel drive, or a fast car, or a manual transmission. Get them steering, braking and watching the road first Then if they want, they can get a stick. Most cars now are autos anyway so learning to shift isn't going to be an issue. As for engine braking, that isn't somthing I would teach a new driver. If in a 1 in a million case does happen, where engine braking could help a car slow down, where is their experience? They are more likly to slip off the brake or mash the gas, then to slow the car by 5 or 6 feet. Kids are kids and driving is dangerous. Autos are fine if they aren't seeking a career in racing. And if they take interest in racing or trucking, they can learn then.
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  15. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I took the oldest girl to "The Audi Driving experience" at Road Atlanta, a 2 day course. She grudgingly went, and then had the time of her life!
  16. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    Interesting because I'm looking into getting a stick Boxster or Miata for my 17-year old son. He learned to drive in my old 1998 E320 (I know, I know, he's spoiled, but this is one problem when Dad has nice cars) and is already getting lackadaisical about it, i.e., putting his hands through the steering wheel. I'm thinking that an underpowered sports car (with side air bags) would do him some good.

    Me, I learned to drive on a motorcycle (mostly Honda 90s). The first car that I ever drove was a 1964, 6 volt mo fo, VW. We lived on a hill, and my Dad backed the Bug down about half way down the hill and then set the parking brake. I then had to figure out how to work the clutch AND brake to get up the hill. Different times. I think about that old VW every know and then. It ended up in a VW graveyard in Utah during one of my Trips in 1974. It's a long story that, like most long stories, nobody cares to hear. But if I drive the Shark to Monterey, I'm gonna stop by that junk yard. Who knows?

    Dr "Gotta go to work" Tax
  17. C. Losito

    C. Losito Formula Junior

    Dec 12, 2003
    Metro St. Louis
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    Chris Losito
    *wades through all the mental masturbation going on*

    I have friends that started from scratch with a manual and I have friends that learned with an automatic. Both have plowed their cars into the back of people. As the only one of my friends that made it through high school and college without getting involved in a wreck or being ticketed (spotless record to this day, knock on wood), I feel that it's safe to say I know what I'm talking about.

    Regarding how safe a driver one becomes, I don't believe that initial transmission choice has any effect on that whatsoever. If you do, then what about power vs. manual steering, power vs. manual brakes, abs/non abs, traction/stability control, etc? It never ends. The fundamentals of safe driving are constant, the mechanics of safe driving change with the car.

    Along with teaching her how to drive (which I'm quite sure you're familiar with by now), make sure she has at least a rudimentary knowledge of how critical driving systems work (brakes, steering, transmission). My father is a mechanic and I asked lots of questions before I took the wheel. It's a lot easier to operate something if you know how it works.

    That having been said; yes, I wish at some point I'd have learned to drive a manual. Here I have this idea of owning a Ferrari in a few years and I couldn't even drive one properly if I did own it! Now I have to buy an interim sports car with a stick just to learn how to drive one (I'll be damned if I'm learning to drive a manual in my Ferrari!).

    One last thought: I, like most people, participated in an enormous amount of illegal driving activities in during my teenage years. The only reason I'm still here (and accident free) is because I learned when to say "You know what? I'm not convinced I can do that." Know your limits.
  18. infraredline

    infraredline Formula 3

    Mar 15, 2004
    San Francisco
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    why learn to only drive SOME cars? If you're going to learn how to drive, might as well really learn.
  19. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
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    Oh yeah! Non-abs is a plus!!!
    For some reason, it forces me to pay even more attention to road conditions (especially in winter). You don't have that false sense of safety you have with abs!
  20. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
    Austin, TX
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    I voted for manual, but that's because I would like them to know how a car works. However, this isn't always the best answer because it is one more complicated thing to pay attention to when sensory overload becomes an issue while driving in traffic. hrmmm.
  21. kenny

    kenny Formula Junior

    Nov 9, 2003
    Greenwich , CT
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    I vote Auto... judging the way I seen most college girls drive on my campus while I was in grad school...
  22. JonBrent

    JonBrent Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    Heaven on Earth
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    Auto first, absolutely no question about it - there are really just too many skills to be mastered quickly to burden a brand new driver with a manual transmission.

    When I was learning to fly I found out the hard way that I could juggle about three new tasks at a time: If I was concentrating on see and avoid, keeping track of heading and listening to atc on the radio, my altitude was all over the place, and when I focused on that, I missed the radio calls. It was only when some of the skills became instinctive/natural that I could take on new skills and really multitask.

    So let the new drivers have a chance to get comfortable first with stopping in time, road conditions, driving defensively around SUV drivers yacking on the cell phone etc, then introduce a new challenge. The last thing you need is a moments distraction to think about what gear to be in rather than what color the light is.

    My two pennies,
  23. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 20, 2004
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    You know that really sums up my thoughts after thinking about this for a year or so.
  24. coolestkidever

    coolestkidever F1 Veteran

    Feb 28, 2004
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    well i think its time for a response from a kid who is learning to drive at the momment, me. Everday i yearn to drive a manual but the only one avaible to me is my uncle's. ive backed it up the driveway and driven it down the street with not any real problems except that my driveway is a hill so that was tricky but i eventually got it after 1 or 2 stalls. I really like to drive a manual it just makes learning to drive all the more exciting. so i think its good to teach your kid both so they can get into any car and be comfortable and confident of their abilities.
  25. vraa

    vraa F1 Rookie
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    Oct 31, 2003
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    Mr. A

    Same here man, same here!
  26. Kevallino

    Kevallino Formula 3

    Feb 10, 2004
    Los Angeles
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    Start with a right-hand drive, dogleg first manual with no synchros.

    Everything (except big diesels that you double-clutch) will be easier after that.

    Am I helping? :)

  27. speedingpenguin

    speedingpenguin Karting

    Apr 6, 2004
    I say automatic. Being 16 myself, had my permit for nearly 6 months now, i think that it was best for me to learn how to drive in an automatic (my dads G35X and my moms minivan) because I got the hang of going through a 4 way stop, merging with traffic, switching lanes, etc. without having to worry much about shifting and stuff.....just had all my concentration on where i was, where i was going, etc.
    After a few months, driving became very easy.....had no problems with anything at all....had driven down to Conneticut from here in northern MA with no problems ( the restaurants parking lot was confusing and i went in an 'Exit Only' way.....but the enterance was all the way around back, i didnt see the 'exit only' sign until i was already in there! lol)
    About a month ago my uncle came up for a visit in his Pontiac Vibe 5speed....
    Now from video games and arcade games and that sorta stuff, I pretty much knew how to drive a manual may sound wierd, but my biggest problem was letting the clutch out slow enough from a stop for it to not stall shifting was apparently so smooth, that my uncle could not believe that i had never driven a manual transmission before. LOL
    Took me a while to get used to letting the clutch out slowly while giving it a little gas.....driving my little brother to one of his baseball games across town on a friday afternoon.....stop and go traffic the whole way....luckily noone got REALLY pissed off and threw anything at me, lol, but i did stall out a few times, and at a stop light i thought i had it in 1st, kept stalling out, and finally just took it out of gear, then put it back in.....turned out i was trying to start in 3rd, LOL
    Lets just say that if i also had to worry about what lane to be in, etc, it would have been ALOT harder.....
    Once they are comfortable driving around with the automatic, then give them a 5 speed and sit back and laugh :) hahaha
    I was even laughing at myself.....cause i'd get nervous, rev' the engine up to like 3k, and even slowly letting the clutch out i'd still spin the tires, LOL
  28. MikeZ_NJ

    MikeZ_NJ Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2002
    Southern NJ
    Full Name:
    Mike Z.
    Since my fiancee is currently a driving instructor, and I value her life, I vote automatic.

    Most of us would be absolutely AMAZED at how incredibly horrible a lot of beginning drivers are. I've been told that the majority of the kids in her car screw up the gas and brake at some point in their lessons. You say brake, they hit the gas, and vice versa. I can't imagine what a 3rd pedal would do. You tell them brake, and you could get the clutch or the gas.

    Mistakes aside, 16yo's have way to much to process their first time behind the wheel that learning to drive a manual transmission is IMO too much.

    I do, however, think that drivers ed. in NJ (can't speak for other states, I haven't witnessed it) is a complete joke. I feel that if we adequately trained and tested the drivers, perhaps adding instruction on sticks further into the training would make sense. As it is now, though, there's only 6 hours behind the wheel with an instructor that has to teach a kid everything from which pedal is which to how to parallel park to driving on a freeway. There's simply no time to add manual driving, and quite frankly, most people wouldn't pay extra even if it was offerred.

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