How Did You Learn To Drive Stick?

Illustration for article titled How Did You Learn To Drive Stick?
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

The weird thing about learning how to drive stick is that I don't remember what was so difficult about it.

I remember stalling a lot, and I remember deep, deep seated fear about it.

Very specifically I remember driving my friend's '81 Accord across the neighborhood one night. The clutch pedal was endlessly long and soft, with a bite point different from my parents' old Volvo. I don't remember how it was different, just that it was.


I got the car out of one driveway and onto the street before coming up to a big red light intersection. I can still recall how anxious I was, knowing that I would have to shift from first to second halfway through the intersection while turning! I can't believe how challenging that seemed.

I don't know how useful my earlier trips to parking lots with my dad had been, at least compared to my first nerve-wracking drives on the road, hills and traffic and all.

How did you learn how to drive stick, and what can you remember from it? What worked, and what didn't?

Photo Credit: Honda (1981 Accord brochure pictured, via darshan67

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Just learned back in January.

I bought a '95 Miata as my first car with no idea how to drive it. My dad drove it home, and then my mom gave me a 15min lesson in the school parking lot- and she hadn't driven a manual in 20 years.

After that I was on my own. At first I sucked pretty bad. This included many stalls, getting stuck on hills, bogging out trying to start in 3rd, missing shifts, you name it. But I picked up proper technique pretty quickly though as I knew the theory from years of Forza and a bunch of youtube videos.

Once I had starting, shifting, and hill starts down, I began to practice rev matching downshifts, and double clutching. I couldn't heel and toe for the longest time, but I've been practicing a lot recently and can now competently do it for the most part.

Funny this was posted today as I reached the ultimate manual achievement today: A double clutch heel and toe from second into first (double clutching is imperative for a 2-1 shift in my car as the synchros are pretty worn between those gears).

Manual is so much fun! I actually find driving autos more physically taxing to drive now as they are so boring.