Shes Never Drivenan Automatic!

It seems more and more people don’t know how to drive a manual transmission. What about the people who don’t know how to drive an automatic?

My sister-in-law, Lucy, is in town from England. She’s in her mid-30s, not really into cars (unlike my wife), and laughs about all the car chat that goes on in our house.

While watching the LeMans 24 on Saturday evening, we got on the subject of driving. It seems Lucy has never done the following:

-Driven faster than 80 mph (the motorway speed limit is 70 in England)
-Driven outside of England
-Driven a left-hand-drive car
-Most amazing? She has never driven a car with an automatic transmission!

In the UK, if you take your driving test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you get a separate license that does not allow you to drive a manual transmission. Yes, automatics are growing in popularity but most still buy a car with a manual mostly due to the lower fuel consumption and emissions.

It’s funny. I have fond memories of my father taking me to the local church parking lot to learn the art of three-pedal driving. I learned in a 1983 VW Rabbit GTI when I was about 13. Sure, I made the Rabbit hop a few times in the early stages of the education process but I got the basics down quite quickly.

Now, it seems more and more people don’t know how to drive a manual. I’ve had two intern candidates in the past two months who could barely drive a manual. Quite sad, really. But I guess if your family never owned a manual, how could you learn? With the growth of the dual-clutch transmission, how long will it be until very few learn how to drive a stick?

Maybe my Lucy should get a job teaching the art of the manual transmission to Americans?