Should Kids Learn to Drive a Stick Shift?

Girl driving a stick shift car

In today’s USA, most people learn to drive a car with an automatic transmission, as they are by far the vehicle of choice. In fact, cars with a manual transmission are rare in today’s market except for sports cars and some off-road vehicles. But learning to drive a stick shift is a valuable skill that is disappearing, especially among young drivers. This writer’s father was a car enthusiast who made his teenage children learn to drive a car with a stick shift before driving an automatic.  He felt it was not only a valuable skill, but a necessary one. Although it may seem like an outdated practice, teaching kids how to drive a manual car can have numerous benefits, and is a lot of fun!

Something most people don’t think about is that driving a stick shift can improve a child’s hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills. It requires quick thinking and coordination to shift gears smoothly. This combination can be a fun and engaging way to develop these skills. As they become more familiar with driving a manual car, they’ll also gain a better understanding of how to control the vehicle, which can help prevent accidents. Cell phone use is drastically reduced as well, since it’s impossible to shift gears and talk or text at the same time.

Stick Shift Skills can Be Helpful in an Emergency

Driving a manual transmission car can be an essential skill for emergency situations. In a situation where the only car available has a stick, knowing how to drive it could actually save a life or prevent a tragic accident. Additionally, there is the hassle and embarrassment of not knowing how to drive one. There are plenty of anecdotal tales of Americans in Europe having trouble at the car rental desk because the only cars available are stick shift! Not a fun way to start a vacation when driving was part of the trip.

Learn to Drive a Manual Car for More Job Opportunities

Depending on your future career plans, learning to drive a manual car can even be valuable for future job opportunities. For example, if a child is interested in pursuing a career in transportation or the automotive industry, knowing how to drive a manual car can set them apart from other candidates. It shows that they have a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the vehicle and can handle a wider range of driving situations. Not to mention auto repairs shops, paint and body shops and car lots all need people who can drive a stick.

Driving a manual transmission car can be a fun and exciting experience. Kids who learn to drive a stick shift often find it more engaging and enjoyable than driving an automatic car. It allows them to feel more connected to the vehicle and can give them a sense of accomplishment as they master the skill.

In conclusion, teaching kids how to drive a manual car can be a valuable experience. It can help develop essential cognitive skills, prepare them for emergency situations, open up job opportunities, and be a fun and engaging activity. Not to mention the street cred you get when you can do something none of your friends can! While it may not be as common in today’s world, it is a skill that is worth considering for any child interested in cars or driving.

Maybe you have an older car you’d like to give to your teenager. Why not give it a refresh with a new paint job? Find your nearest Econo location and see what we can do for you. 

 

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