5 Tips to Teach Your Teen to Drive a Manual Shift

Written by on January 31, 2014 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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teen driver manual shiftDriving a manual transmission, (often called a “stick shift”) vehicle is an important skill to learn. Knowing how to drive a stick can help your teen expand his or her driving choices and abilities.

Driving a stick can help your teen drive safely in adverse weather conditions or other potentially dangerous situations. However, it is more difficult to learn to drive a stick than to drive an automatic shift vehicle. These five steps will help your teen learn how to drive safely and avoid accidents in Miami.

According to a Sun-Sentinel news article, Miami-Dade County saw 12,813 hit-and-run accidents in 2013. Miami is within that county, so in order to avoid having your child add to that statistic when driving a stick shift, parents should do the following:

Step 1: Practice in an Empty Parking Lot

For the first few lessons, your teen will need plenty of room to maneuver. It can be difficult to control a manual shift vehicle at first and your teen may be frightened. To ease his or her anxiety, choose an empty, flat parking lot for your first lesson.

That way, your child won’t have many obstacles in his or her path while getting used to the controls. You may want to park the car in the middle of the lot before letting him or her get behind the wheel so that there is plenty of space to practice. Also, consider using an older vehicle to practice on, as newer manual shifts are sometimes harder to operate.

Step 2: Go Over the Controls

Prior to allowing your child to start the engine, take the time to go over how a manual shift operates. Show them the three pedals: gas, brake and clutch. Explain what each of these pedals is for and make sure they can identify which is which.

Have your teen practice putting one foot on the clutch while switching from gas to brake with the other foot. Next, show them the shift and make sure they know where each gear is and how to shift gears. Finally, have your child engage the parking brake so that they can prevent an accident while parking.

Step 3: Have Your Teen Start the Engine

Starting the engine on a manual shift takes some practice. Have them press down on the clutch, put the car in neutral and start the engine. It may take several tries before your child can do this smoothly.

Step 4: Start With Upshifting the Gears

Now it’s time to start driving! Have them shift into first gear while keeping their foot on the clutch. Your teen should then put their foot on the brake pedal and release the parking brake. Put your hand over the parking brake in case you need to engage it quickly for them.

Then, have your child slowly release the clutch and press the gas. Train him or her to listen to the engine sound and shift into second when it revs up to 3,000 RPM. Downshifting is harder because it requires the teen to release the gas, press the clutch and shift down. Stopping requires them to get into second gear before pressing the brake.

Step 5: Teach Your Teen Driver Safety

Once your teen masters shifting gears while driving, they are ready to practice driving on the road. It’s important to teach driver safety once your child is at this point. They will have to master signaling, pay attention to the road and making safe lane changes while still shifting gears appropriately.

Teach them to quickly get into second gear if they need to hit the brakes in an emergency and to practice defensive driving to avoid accidents in Miami traffic.

Driving a manual shift is a challenge both for parents and teens. Make sure to be patient and encouraging as your teen learns how to drive smoothly and safely.

Domonique Powell, driving guru and mom of four, has always believed in the gas economy of a manual transmission. When teaching her youngest about the legalities of auto accidents, she thought it was best to check out miamicaraccidentlawyers.net, to prepare for their first Miami road trip.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hvnlydlite/323413103/

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