How to Drive Manual
Learning how to drive manual is an important part of any driver's education. Anyone can drive an automatic, but it takes finesse to drive a stick shift. Remember that all of the rules of driving still apply, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving. To start, find an empty parking lot to practice in. It can be difficult to learn with a lot of other cars around.
- Begin with your right foot on the brake and your left foot on the clutch. Start the car, keeping your foot pressed against the clutch. (The clutch is the pedal the furthest to the left.)
- Make sure the shifter is in first gear (all the way to the left and up). If possible, take your foot off of the break. Slowly release your foot from the clutch while the other foot slowly presses the gas pedal. Take your time with this step. If you let the clutch out too soon, you will stall out and the car will turn off. If you press the gas to hard, you may peel out.
- As you move forward in first gear, the RPMs (revolutions per minute)on the engine will increase and you will pick up speed. When the time is right, press the clutch all the way down again and move the gear shift into second gear (still on the right, under first gear). Repeat this step for third gear (up and a little to the right of first), fourth gear (below third) and, if applicable, fifth gear (all the way to the right and up, next to third gear).
- When it is time to slow down, gently press the brake. If you slow way down, you will have to press the clutch all the way down as well, to keep the care from stalling. You may also want to bring the gear shift into neutral (in the center where the shifter is not in any gear at all.) If the vehicle comes to a stop, begin the steps above to restart movement.
- Down-shifting is also a way to slow down a vehicle. Press the clutch in and shift into a lower gear. Gently take your foot off the clutch and press the gas pedal. While this is a great way to save the brakes, it is important to take your time. Don't suddenly down-shift to second gear while going 50 miles an hour. Down-shifting involves planning and is not appropriate for sudden stops. Use your ears to listen to the engine; the sound will tell you when to up-shift or down-shift.
Once learned, driving manual can be a lot of fun. You have maximum control over your vehicle.