Difficulties adjusting to a manual car.

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RTK
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Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:01 am

Difficulties adjusting to a manual car.

Post by RTK »

Hi,

Background: I've been driving for over 4 years now and have a fair bit of experience of covering around 25,000 miles since I got my first car. I learned and passed in a manual car.

Over the years I have also had 4 cars, my first broke down within a year due to a head gasket fault. I then had a Fiat Panda which was a good car however after 2 years looked around out of interest at upgrading and I did.

However this third car was electric and for me my first automatic, unfortunately after a year I was having too many issues with charging it on long trips.

I did initially look at just automatic petrol cars to swap to as I couldn't afford a longer range electric (the one I had was at a low price point and sold for more than I paid.

I tried a couple but as they were bigger I wasn't sure, in the end I test drove a manual and thought it was right. It was actually an extremely close match in size and shape and feature wise fairly similar.

But since then I constantly doubt my driving specifically as if I notice the gear changes more, I thought I'd get used to it again but after 2 months don't seem to.

My family say my driving is perfectly fine and I don't know if partially it's either more doubting myself when it is fine. Or if I notice the concentration required for manual is more now.

The issue is I didn't doubt myself before when driving manual and felt it was something that I had overcome well (I wasn't actually aware dyspraxia could affect it and I didn't get diagnosed fully until after passing but at the time all I had driven was manuals).

For long distance it's OK as it has cruise control, but I notice it more around town in traffic.

Finally I don't seem to feel as relaxed when driving now, at one point it did almost clear my head as I could only focus on driving and helped with any stress. But now I don't get this with this car.

So partially what I'm interested Is in has anyone else had to switch back to manual?
Shadwell
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Location: Bridgend, South Wales

Re: Difficulties adjusting to a manual car.

Post by Shadwell »

Hi RTK,

Having driven an automatic myself for 6 months 9 years ago after a 17 years of driving manual cars, and the 8 year since driving manual cars, I wouldn't say it is something you get over, and not really anything to get over. I have always been aware of which gear I am in at any moment, plus I know it makes me a safer driver because of it.

mainly because I know how the car should react to situations, like going down hill, and if the gear and the revs aren't slowing me down, then I know I am in 4th or 5th. as 3rd holds me doing 28-30 on a 30 road with a normal down hill section.

that plus I always know where to find the gearstick without fumbling around in an emergency which also means I can stop the car quicker than someone in a higher gear, and just using brakes, that plus I was trained in large goods vehicles, and to be honnest I wasn't taught it before that day, I was always taught how to stop in the highest gear while doing my car test.

but on more than once in my life changing gears while braking extremely heavy has saved my life. and because I was doing it at exactly the right moment it meant the car had also survived from being damaged.

so I wouldn't say it is a major problem knowing which gear you are in from a personal perspective, plus less fumbling around trying to find the gearstick in an emergency situation can only be a positive.

I would say don't fear it but embrace the fact you instantly know where the gearstick is at all times, and does make for better driving, because you aren't jerking around in the wrong gear trying to find the gearstick, and trying to find the right gear for say a hill, or a hill with bends in it. because you know where the gearstick is it can also save you having to change down twice because you didn't find the gearstick in time for the 1st gear change at the right moment.

so there are positives to knowing where the gearstick is, and where to find it at the right moment rather than taking everything for granted.
RTK
New member - welcome them!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:01 am

Re: Difficulties adjusting to a manual car.

Post by RTK »

Reflecting on it a bit more, I think I've been trying to put my dislikes about this car down to it being a manual and linking that to the dyspraxia rather than other things that I'm finding worse about it and not it being manual. (For example the parking sensors are quite unreliable and with the not best depth perception don't find it as easy to drive).

To a certain extent I'm driving fairly well with it being manual, changing gears no issue, only stalled once since getting it and a few bits like that. But still not at a point where I can do it without having to think about it. (But that could be because I'm over analysing it).

However some points are interesting @Shadwell.

To be honest I wouldn't say that I feel safer driving manual and that strangely it feels like I have less control as I have to do more to do an emergency stop, as I do have to think more than I did about it I feel that I'm slightly less aware of surroundings from having to focus partially on that more now.

But I still think I'm going to have to change away from this car much quicker than I expected. Unfortunately because it didn't feel right I don't think I will be able to get it out of my head that it's not right. While I would like to make it work and logically know it should be fine I don't think I'm going to be relaxed while driving until I switch back to an automatic.
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