Aug 16, 2011

Learning To Drive.

Do you remember when you learned how to drive? Did you learn in a car with a standard or automatic transmission ? I learned on a standard. I was very afraid. My dad was very patient. I gave him lots of good, "stalling the car on a hill" stories :) There were loads of hills in Everett, Washington where I had to pass my drivers test and I knew it and the hill thing with the standard transmission thing did not seem to comfort my fears much. But I finally got my license. It was such a momentous occasion that my parents bought me my own huge box of miniature Reese's from Costco. And of course that is all I remember about that day :)

My oldest child, Zach, learned how to drive a standard transmission...it was a painful process but he learned. I have left the "teaching the kids driving thing" up to the man of the house. None of the kids, so far, have taken any form of drivers ed. It costs so much money here in Massachusetts that we have had the kids wait until they are 18 to get their drivers licence to avoid shelling out the $600 to $800 dollars that the driving schools in the area are asking. Although sometimes I wonder if it would be worth all the trouble to just pay someone else to do it.

Anyway, Madeline learned how to drive on an automatic transmission. She has driven a standard a few times but she absolutely hates it. But the latest car we purchased has a standard transmission and she really needs to learn how to drive it and I have decided that teaching her is my responsibility. It takes all the persuasive powers I possess to get Madeline out of the house to drive with me. She has a lot to say about our purchase of a car with a standard transmission. I love standard transmission cars and I am the one who wanted it with all my heart. She grumbles the whole time she is driving it about how bad they are and how unnecessary it is to have a car like this when we could have one that does it all automatically for you.....bless her little reasoning heart :) Once she gets going she drives the standard transmission perfectly it is stopping, starting and backing up that give her trouble....:)

I have been wondering a lot about the pros and cons of each transmission as I have been listening to her moan about her miserable existence and as I have been trying to help her to see that she will be so grateful that she knows how to drive a standard transmission car when she grows up. Yeah, she is so not buying that discussion :)

So today I googled "standard versus automatic transmission" and I finally have some reasons for Madeline......that will probably make no difference but at least now I know why and can coherently argue with her on our oh so pleasant drives with each other :)

The first thing I discovered is that a standard transmission car is going to be cheaper apparently you can save $800 to a $1000 dollars if you buy the standard.

Standard transmission cars get better gas mileage

They are more fun to drive.....I already knew this but it was good to be validated by google :)

A standard transmission is more practical if your battery dies. You can get a push start if your battery dies if you have a standard and just keep on driving. If you have an automatic you have to get a jumpstart or towed.

A standard transmission is easier to repair because it has fewer parts and is mechanically simpler than the automatic.

With a standard transmission you can keep the power of the engine right where you want it. Something this little housewife in Massachusetts always wants :)

I found out that in Europe most cars are sold with a manual transmission unlike America. There is a huge list of countries that if you get your licence in a car that is an automatic you receive a drivers licence that declares that you can only drive automatic cars and because manual cars are more prevalent in other countries most people make the effort to take their test in a manual transmission car so they can get the full drivers license. Other countries go even further and you can not get a license if you do not take the test in a manual transmission car....hmmm maybe we should move to Brazil or Denmark :)

Driving a standard transmission requires a lot more concentration and that is Madeline's biggest complaint. How can a person change the radio station, eat, talk on the phone, put on Carmex, and look for something you dropped if you are driving a standard? :) I do not dare tell her I have figured out how to do all those things and way more :)

Miriam also needs to learn how to drive a standard transmission car but she actually really wants to learn so hopefully that will ensure success. I am reading up on the best way to teach someone how to drive a standard so I can do a good job explaining it to her. I have wondered if I even understand all the whens, and hows, and wheres, of driving a standard even though I have been driving one since 1985. I am curious to know if there is a wrong and right way to all the times you shift and downshift and other such things :)

So in the next few weeks the lady who does the laundry and fixes meals at the Baird house will also be teaching driving. The children will probably think I am doing it wrong and have all sorts of things to say and think that every word out of my mouth is critical but otherwise I am sure it will go along fabulously. Maybe if we practice driving to the mall or boyfriends houses it will go better ? :)


1 comment:

Joan said...

This post cracks me up! I learned to drive on a manual transmission also. About your musing whether or not there is a right or wrong time to upshift or downshift...there is. My dad actually made a little chart and posted it in the car. It had all of the "perfect" speed ranges for shifting. Also, did you know that turns should almost always be made in second gear? This little piece of information takes a lot of the thinking out of shifting when you are turning. I hope by the end of the summer Madeline and Miriam will be pros.