“Stick”ing with the manual transmission

Photo courtesy of MaxiMalatio, Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of MaxiMalatio, Wikimedia Commons

By Eric Chang, Journalism 1

In America, perhaps the greatest thing about becoming a teenager and growing up is achieving that freedom so long desired. Ever since we were little kids, we’ve always wanted to be adults; it is all we’ve ever talked about. Perhaps the most iconic display of freedom, not only in America, but also around the world, is getting a license and having the ability to drive around, unsupervised. Most teens view this moment of their lives as a huge achievement and often relive their success stories on social media.

Still, most of these people, especially in America, learn to drive on automatic transmissions. The problem, however, is that driving an automatic transmission requires minimal work, and thus, the ever shortening attention span of teenagers is drawn to their smartphone screens instead of the road. Apparently, letting friends know that they are now “#currentlydriving” is more important than driving itself. Thus, stickshift should become the norm in America.

Making stickshift mandatory the first five years of driving would be great in general. New drivers would have to put their phone down while driving because stickshift requires both hands and both legs. Instead of being able to hold the steering wheel in one hand and a phone in the other, new drivers would need to constantly shift while driving, essentially preventing them from having a chance of using their phones while moving. Plus, by making stickshift mandatory, new drivers would need to pay much more attention to the road and their car as they would now be forced to deal with the addition of shifting gears, working the clutch, making gearshifts as smooth as possible, steering the car, and looking at the road. Essentially, driving a car with a manual transmission is like driving a car while using a phone, but instead of placing attention on the phone, you are actually focused on the car you are driving and on the road you are driving on.

Even better is the fact that requiring new drivers to learn how to drive stickshift prepares them for the real world and teaches them a very valuable skill that every driver should know. They are better able to multitask and they can have more fun while driving because, lets be honest, nothing feels and sounds better than performing the perfect downshift and hearing the engine rev to high RPMs. Plus, there is an just something so captivating and so mesmerising about becoming one with the car.

On an even better note, if all new cars were manual transmissions, total costs of owning a car would be cheaper, and the overall fuel economy of all cars would rise as manual transmissions have less power loss at the transmission because there is no need for a torque converter to change gears. This means more efficiency and more work for the same amount of energy.

Overall, stickshift is the best thing that has ever happened to cars, and it has sadly been phased out in favor of newer automatics. Still, while the stickshift has started to disappear, they can be the best things to happen to cars again if we make them mandatory. This would decrease accident rates as drivers focus on the road. Drivers would also acquire valuable skills and have fun driving while saving gas and money.

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Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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