Why You Should Learn How to Drive a Stick Shift

why you should drive a stick shift

Learning how to drive a stick shift has more advantages than being able to drive just about any vehicle out there. Most people take the act of driving too much like eating, drinking, or brushing their teeth. Once they get into the vehicle, they go on autopilot, rarely enjoying the moment. To them, it’s just another action to perform, like performing a chore. All they seem to care about is getting from Point A to Point B. This article will not discuss how to actually drive a stick shift but instead why it is beneficial for you to drive a stick shift.

I would put forth that driving should be something we enjoy. It gives us a sense of freedom and exhilaration. Driving for the sake of getting from one place to another quickly sucks the life out of you. Personally, when I drive I live in the moment. I drive to achieve smoothness, because I would rather be smooth and slow than jerky but fast. Over time, smooth is fast and fast is smooth. Over time, you learn to read the road. Over time, you become one with the road.

It’s hard to achieve this level of connectivity with an automatic shifter.

When you drive stick, you have to know…

  • What you are doing every step of the way. You are the computer and do all the work in shifting gears.
  • When to shift and at what RPMs for smooth transitions from one gear to the next.
  • How to downshift smoothly and apply the brakes before you have to stop.
  • How to plan ahead so you avoid unwanted clutch work when you are stuck in a traffic jam.
  • When to downshift for more power to either pass a slow-moving vehicle or merge onto a freeway.
  • How to slow down before you hit a traffic light so that by the time you get there, you are still maintaining some semblance of speed, which helps you save gas.

In short, you become one with the machine. You are living in the moment by doing. It’s a form of active meditation, much like Tai Chi.

Living in the moment, we are free of the B.S. that is happening in our lives. We stop thinking of the bad stuff in the past or in the future that causes worry and stress. Stress causes sickness and impacts our health. At any given moment, you are either living in the past, present, or future. Your brain cannot tell at which moment in time you are. If you go revisiting the painful memories of the past or worry about what may happen in the future, you are not living. When you are fully in the present, you are living in the moment.

So, you see driving a stick puts you more in the driver’s seat than does driving an automatic. You are essentially one with the road. Like riding a motorcycle, you become lost in a Zen-like state as you apply concentration to the task of driving at hand. Overtime, you learn how to read the road because you are more involved with the art of driving itself. Instead of being an impassive observer you are an active participant. In essence, when you  drive a stick shift you live in and enjoy the moment, and that is a very good place to be.

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