Learn to drive stick-filter
June 12, 2012 4:55 PM Subscribe
Help me get over anxiety from learning to drive stick on surface streets in a moderately hilly town, please?
posted by lonefrontranger to Travel & Transportation around Boulder, CO (44 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
HALP. I am 43 years old and have tried, multiple times over my adult lifetime, to learn how to drive a manual. Earlier efforts involved my frantic overbearing mother and my asshole ex. My husband has been unfailingly, incredibly patient, and I'm still not managing to get it. I've been "sort of" learning on our 2005 Outback, but O Dear Lord I Have Issues, not the least of which it's just too damned easy in this town to just say "fuck it", avoid the whole mess entirely, and ride my bike.
This, however, is not going to be a negotiable solution forever, and I'm getting really pissed off with myself and my anxiety surrounding this issue. It would also be really nice if I could drive to work on days I really need to. Or drive to things I would like to do myself, like bike races, help out driving on road trips for my husband, etc. I do partial shifts when we go to Albuquerque to visit his folks, but so far it really has to involve very long, open stretches of freeway with virtually no potential for having to actually, you know, use the gears much (meaning: the stretch between Trinidad and Santa Fe and that's pretty much it).
One compounding issue is that we live in a dense small city (Boulder, Colorado) which has some of the worst traffic congestion for a community its size that I've ever seen. The trip from my house on the southwest end of town to my workplace (central east side) is fraught with roughly a million stop lights, hill starts and large, busy arterials. There is no route out of my neighborhood without facing an extremely aggravating series of lights. The "easiest" way out of the maze involves a hill start, and hill starts absolutely terrify me. This car does not have "hill assist" btw.
Another compounding issue is that our car has a pretty heavy clutch. Replacing it (the clutch or the car) is really not an option. I'm beginning to regret having sold my pathetic old Volvo in fact, if only because it was an automatic and didn't make me feel like a failure at life. And the irony of it is, I'm a pretty decent driver otherwise.
I know other people have learned how to do this - it cannot possibly be as hard as I'm making it.
What tips or suggestions does the hive mind have to get me past the mental blocks with driving stick in traffic? I recently spent a humiliating ten minutes weeping in rage just trying to back up and pull out from behind a friend's house four blocks away because I kept stalling the damn thing.