Vehicles have two basic types of transmission systems namely; the automatic transmission system and the manual transmission system. The automatic transmission system is the most common. A large percentage of the vehicles run on the automatic transmission system and there are very few drivers who know how to drive the manual transmission system. Unlike the automatic transmission system, the manual transmission system is more complicated (Bury St Edmunds Driving School, 2010). The following are some of the steps involved in driving a manual transmission:
When sitting in the car, ensure that the gear shift is within your reach and you are close enough to push the clutch to the floor. Familiarize yourself with the gear shift pattern. Cars can have either five or six gear shift patterns. Try to shift the gear into all the steps including the reverse. Begin with the neutral gear which is usually located on the center before pulling towards you and forward for reverse. Pull it halfway towards you and move it forward again for gear 1. In order to select gear 2, pull it back on the same groove as the first gear. To select gear 3, move the lever up from the first two gears to the middle, and then move it a little to the right and up. Gear 4 is selected by moving right back on the same groove as gear 3. The clutch makes it possible for one to select the gears and move the vehicle. Gear 5 is selected by pushing up the lever halfway from gear 4 and moving it a little to the right and up (Standard Shift, 2004).
Starting the Car
Once you have familiarized yourself with the clutch and the gear shift patterns and are in a comfortable sitting position, ensure that the car is in neutral and that the parking brake is set. Place the right foot on the parking brake and use the left foot to press the clutch to the floor then start the vehicle. Once the car starts, release the clutch slowly and the parking brake (Standard Shift, 2004).
Engage the first gear by pressing and holding down the clutch pedal with the left foot and shift the gear to level 1 in order to move. Remove your foot gently from the clutch pedal and gently push down the accelerator pedal. One has to be very careful when pushing down the accelerator because any wrong movement will give the car a jerk or a stall (Standard Shift, 2004).
Press down the clutch pedal and shift the gears depending on the speed which you want to drive. Speed decreases when you shift down the gears and increases when you shift up the gears. High screaming sounds produced by the vehicle indicate that you have to shift up the gear. When the car threatens to stall, then you have to shift down the gears. In the course of driving, as you release the clutch pedal you smoothly get on the gas by pressing the accelerator pedal (Bury St Edmunds Driving School, 2010).
Parking brakes are used for parking. Begin by setting the parking brake and then let up on the brakes in order to ensure it is fully engaged. You can then leave the gear shift in reverse or first gear depending on the direction in which you want to park the vehicle (Standard Shift, 2004).
Stay in your current gear down to approximately 5-15 Mph before putting the car in neutral and applying the brakes in order to come to a complete stop.