Everyone Should Have to Drive Stick When They Get Their License
I recently decided to hop in the passenger seat of my 15 year old cousin's new car. In Georgia, you can legally drive at the age of 15 if you pass the learners permit test and have someone 18 years or older in the passenger seat. To obtain a learners permit you basically have to prove you aren't as blind as Helen Keller and that you know what a stop sign means. It's not exactly the Harvard entrance exam. Still, I jumped in the passenger seat and hit the mean streets of Atlanta. If you've ever driven in Atlanta you know that people drive like they're the only cars on the road and need to get home before the next 1/4 inch of snow devastates the city. We started driving and hit the first obstacle, a stop sign (hopefully he learned that one on the permit test). I told myself that I wouldn't be the overbearing passenger and slam my imaginary break. Well I never said that out loud, but I thought about it. It turns out when you are 10 feet away from a stop sign intersecting a busy road and still going 40 mph you forget everything you told yourself minutes before. At the last second he slammed on the brakes and really tested the ABS in the car. I remained silent. As we kept driving the problems didn't stop. He would get so close to the cars in front of him that I could have reenacted the scene from Furious 7 and leapt on to the car in front of us. In hindsight it probably would have been safer to hitch a ride on the trunk of the multiple cars inches away from our hood. He would take corner like a rally driver and the back end would swing around like a 1200-hp Supra. This wouldn't be that impressive unless you knew that he was driving a front-wheel drive car. Finally the ride was over and I stumbled out of the car like I had been taking a shot of absinthe every time I saw a brake light. Finally I prayed to the patron saint of tires that this kid would never grace the roads again.
His driving made me realize something: It is too easy to drive. His total lack of awareness was so terrible that he should be slapped with first degree manslaughter just in preparation for when he can drive alone in the coming year. I believe that none of this would be a problem if he just learned to drive in a car with a manual transmission.
Cars with manual transmission are more than just a good way to feel like a racing driver. They teach you many lessons on the road due to the fact that you have to anticipate the traffic around you and learn to be considerate of other drivers. Nothing will teach you more patience than being stuck in traffic with your foot on that third pedal. You also learn to be more courteous to other drivers by experience when they just don't understand that you'll have to downshift every time they decide to look up from their phone and brake check the hell out of you. Speaking of phones, you'll have a hard time learning to drive stick if you have one hand on the wheel and one hand on your iphone. A manual transmission keeps you focused on the road at all times. Not to mention its fun! Why would you want to mess with your phone when you could be rowing through gears and downshifting like a pro? I think everyone needs to learn how to drive on a manual transmission. Not just for themselves, but for the sake of their passengers who were holding cups of hot coffee.