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Back-to-Basics! Fundamental Tips in Driving a Stick Shift

Vin Diesel

Driving, you have to know, is two things: essential and difficult. And if you think you can cheat your way to expert level with only automatic driving in your knowledge, you’re dead wrong. If you’re serious about driving, you’re going to have to go through the hole of the needle before becoming a master just like everybody else.

You may not need to concern yourself with intricate car parts like the U-bolt, the piston, and the alternator for you can always go to a mechanic for repairs. You do, however, need to master the stick shift, for sure. Your life’s bound to be easier.

To further your driving skills and knowledge about vehicles, absorb and apply the tips listed below:

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Start with the… Stick Shift

It may seem to obvious, but what this means is that with learning manual driving, it is good to begin with practicing how to shift even before getting the engine started. Get a good hold of the stick shift and control it without breaking your look at the road. To
drive a manual transmission is to constantly change gears, so you have to be extra familiar with the stick shift and its functions.

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Never Look Off the Road—except for the mirrors

As you may now know, driving requires your utmost attention. Meaning, you have to remember a lot of essentials while manning the machine, one of which is to never-ever look—or even dare to look—on anything else other than the road, the dashboard, and the mirrors. In fact, your eyes will only peek at the side and rear-view mirrors for mere split seconds most of the time, that’s if you don’t want to end up a disfigured sardine inside a crushed can.

Now how is this a tip for driving stick? See, manual is more complicated to man than automatic. You have to feel the clutch, brake, and acceleration, as well as the stick itself. That’s already a lot to keep track of! Now while driving and you break under the pressure, there is a chance for you to lose concentration—and then your head. So don’t ever look off the road.

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Memorize every control of the machine

We’re worried about you losing your concentration, so we’re making sure that if ever you do, you won’t ever forget how the car works! Remember that it’s the clutch, brake, and the gas from left to right—always. Also never forget how many gears your car can run, as well as the feel of shifting. A true stick master may overlook how to breathe, but he certainly will not forget how to control his machine.

To better understand the anatomy and function of your precious vehicle, check out our posts on Knowing your Car.

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Practice, Practice… Practice!

For once you have the stick mastered, you’ve already covered both level one and the boss level. Every technique that follows next will be mere child’s play! So you have to practice all you know, constantly and with profound zeal. Only those with the heart to commit to it become true masters of the stick shift…

Are you one of them?

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