Originally Posted by Taak Farst
Yesterday was my 17th birthday and as a surprise, my foster mother bought me a 10 hour driving lesson block, with the first two hours being yesterday. It went okay, but I kept "kangarooing" and I couldn't figure out clutch pressure and such. Either way, it was nerveracking, my vision appeared to blur under the nerves and the car seemed smaller than it was. I guess all I want to know is, does it soon get easier and better or does it take a long time?
First, get an eye exam. Second, breathe!
Here's the tip a good friend of mine taught me when I had trouble with getting the car into first gear. The clutch controls it all. You can have the accelerator petal floored and the engine revving at max, but until you let the clutch out, the car won't move. So, the trick is to give it a lot of gas at first, and let the clutch out extremely slowly. Practice this in a huge parking lot like I did--a college or mall parking lot on a very early Saturday or Sunday morning works great. You want to find a flat surface so you don't have to worry about rolling up or down hills.
My friend and I practiced this a lot--give it a lot of gas, let the clutch out extremely slowly until the engine engages, and go. Do this a ton of times, and you'll eventually be able to use less gas. After you do it a lot of times, you'll get a better feel for the clutch, and you'll be able to do that part faster, too.
Hope that helps if you aren't already cruising around like a pro!
The reason to own an automatic is so that people like me with really crappy knees can drive. When I had my left knee replaced 3 years back, I was able to drive the automatic minivan but not the manual Honda Civic we had--I could only use the right leg to drive. I just had the right knee replaced so I can't drive for another week and a half, but if I had an absolute dire emergency (like my kid was dying and the ambulance couldn't come for an hour), I theoretically could drive with my left leg. You have to have 2 good legs with manual, but only 1 for automatic. It's also a good choice for people who have hand, arm, or shoulder problems from injuries or bad arthritis since they don't have to shift the gears. Also, having driven in Chicago rush hour for a few years, I can tell you that automatic was far more convenient and a lot less annoying than braking and shifting into first gear non-stop for an hour or more.