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Shifting Away from Driving Stick

Updated on January 20, 2012

Earlier in the day, I was reading through my news feed on Facebook and happened to notice a story that one friend had linked.At the University of Cincinnati, two men tried to steal a car, but they gave up when the car was standard shift.Neither of them knew how to drive stick, so they were out of luck.I had to laugh at this.You would assume that someone in the business of car thefts would know how to drive basically anything they could get their hands on.To me, driving stick shift is such a simple and natural thing.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that stick shift isn’t such a common thing.You can call it stick, manual, or standard, but most people seem to only be familiar with the term automatic.I have known how to drive stick since before I ever got my license, but that doesn’t seem to be so common anymore.I’m sure there are people who will read this that can recall from many years ago when almost all cars were stick and buying an automatic wasn’t much of an option.

Why has driving a vehicle with a manual transmission become such a foreign concept?I believe part of it coincides with the current state of society.Most people seem to want to do as little as possible.Driving stick shift is almost like work.They feel that a car with an automatic transmission makes life easier, so they prefer that option.We have become so accustomed to luxuries and conveniences.

When I was in college, I worked at a car dealership for just over a year.We consistently had around 500 vehicles on the lot, and less than 20 of them were stick shift.That’s a mere 4%.I would venture to guess that more than 4% of vehicles on the road are stick shift, but I would assume it is not a very high percentage.When I think about my friends’ cars, most of them drive automatics.

It is not just the fact that the majority of cars are automatics now; it’s the idea that the knowledge of how to drive stick shift is dying.I believe that fewer and fewer people actually know how to drive stick.I have taught some of my friends and older siblings how to drive stick.I have also been asked by numerous other people if I will teach them.A lot of people have the general idea of how to drive stick, but they are not competent.

Personally, I would rather drive a manual vehicle; I think that driving automatic is boring.I have virtually only driven stick shift vehicles since I got my license, and I plan to only buy them in the future.I do not find it to be a burden to drive stick.It is something that happens naturally without even thinking about shifting.I always feel like I have more control over the vehicle by driving a standard shift.I would guess it all comes down to a matter of preference, but I found it interesting to think about how stick shift is somewhat phasing out.


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    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      @wilderness - I can understand that after a while it just becomes a hassle. Maybe one day when you get that sports car you will have it again.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Up until a couple of years ago I always had a stick shift car or pickup, along with an automatic for my wife.

      I finally gave it up; after 45+ years of driving one it isn't particularly fun anymore - more of an unneeded hassle. Now if I was driving a Porsche or Maserati...

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      @treadmill - I don't think they will ever give up on making them. There will always be some demand. It really isn't hard to learn. People make itseem worse than it really is.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      @eddie - those are the perks of working at a dealership. It's great fun to be able to take a car off the lot and run it down the highway.

      @hballard - it seems like most people who know how to drive stick learned it when they were young. You pretty much have to learn before you get your license because after that it seems to get brushed away.

      @CWana - It does definitely come in handy at times. You can generally get cars with a manual transmission, but a lot of time they just have to be custom ordered.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      I learned to drive on a stick and it's skill that has come in handy on more than one occasion. Driving a stick shift is also much more fun than an automatic vehicle. It's unfortunate the cars with manual transmissions are slowly disappearing. My next sports car will have one though.

    • hballard profile image

      hballard 6 years ago from Arizona

      I agree. More and more you meet people who have no idea how to drive a stick, (or in some cities, know how to drive period haha.) It's a dying art, and I'm lucky that I grew up in a rural area and started drivin a stick when I was about 10. Although, I do apologize to that poor little old lady that I almost ran off the road then. Just kidding haha

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 6 years ago from New Hampshire

      I worked at a car dealership for 25 years, I have had the luxury of driving stick shift vehicles of every make and model, the best stick I ever drove was a Porsche 911 turbo, 85mph in first gear...WOW! I have had my fun, but I prefer an automatic now, if I want to drive a stick, I hop on the Mean Streak and go. Your right, the stick is fading away. Good hub, vote up and interesting.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      @al - I would love to visit Australia some day. I prefer the feel of driving manual as well. My brother lives in South America, and almost all cars there are manual.

    • Al Shield profile image

      Al Shield 6 years ago from Bendigo, Victoria

      Come to Australia - they teach you how to drive a manual first and unless you truly cannot handle the brilliance of it, you earn your manual license.

      Personally I feel nothing beats the feeling of driving and cycling through the gears on a stick shift - I feel much more in control in a Manual than an auto anyday..

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      @Josh - You are a lucky man to grow up on a farm. They teach you so many valuable things. I don't think about it at all when I'm driving, so I don't feel the pressure.

    • JoshuaDR profile image

      JoshuaDR 6 years ago from Charleston, SC

      The only reason I know how to drive a stick shift is because I grew up on a farm. I will always buy automatic though. It's too much preasure driving manual on a steep hill with someone behind you.