We’re on the transmission-impossible: Getting Americans to switch to manual. We know, we know: Traffic. But if traffic is your only reason for not driving a manual, we think you’re seriously missing out. Here’s why:
1. Better gas mileage
While this is no longer an absolute truth for all manual vehicles, it is still the norm. Most automatic transmissions can’t keep up with manuals in terms of efficiency. And as an added bonus, most manual versions of cars cost less than the automatics. Investing in a manual means you’re saving money upfront and as you drive.
2. Less distracted driving
It may seem counter-intuitive, but giving someone a harder task to focus on might help the problem of distracted driving. Driving stick shift requires the use of all four limbs simultaneously, and a fairly consistent level of road awareness. That extra focus might lead to safer roads.
Take this into consideration: In 2014, only 25% of vehicles sold in the United Kingdom were automatics, compared to 94.5% for the United States. In 2013, the United Kingdom reported 5 fatal car accidents for every 100,000 cars on the road, compared to America’s 13 fatal car accidents for every 100,000 cars on the road. Of course, these two statistics could be completely unrelated. It’s just an interesting thought.
3. Manuals are more fun
Regular driving can be pretty boring. Manuals, on the other hand, can be great fun. Manual transmissions give you more control over the car and engage you in the driving process. There’s no rush like shifting through the gearbox as you test your car’s 0-60mph time.
4. You can drive anything
Just being able to drive a manual is a skill everyone should have. There are plenty of worst-case scenarios we could dream up where knowing how to drive a manual might come in handy (meteor strikes the earth and you only have a manual car to escape the blast), but here’s a likely one: your friend had too much to drink at the bar and needs you to drive them (and their manual car) home.
5. It’s a new skill
Who doesn’t like to learn!? You don’t? Oh. Well what if we told you learning a new skill is the best way to keep your brain in sharp? That’s right – if you want to keep your brain in tip-top shape, you’ve got to use it. Learning to drive stick shift requires new motor skills, and it’ll change the way you react to certain driving situations. Putting that kind of stress on the brain requires it to grow and adapt, which is good.
So what are you waiting for?
Go find a friend who drives stick, and get them to teach you! If you like it, make sure your next vehicle comes with a clutch. Even in stop-and-go traffic, you won’t regret it.