Ever notice that a lot of teachers are quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong and slower to recognize what you’re doing right? It can be the same way with a “dos and don’ts” list. For example, “do shift at the right time” and “don’t shift at the wrong time” are the same piece of advice, but they sound different, don’t they?
In the interest in encouraging your growing competence as a stick shift driving, here’s a list with more “dos” than “don’ts.” Follow the advice on the “do” side, and watch your confidence increase. Take a look at the “don’t” side, too. As you’ll see, even some of the classic “don’ts” have exceptions.
Driving a manual transmission car in rain and snow can be dangerous. As it turns out, there are bad weather circumstances where there’s an advantage driving a stick shift. There’s also at least one weather-related situation where driving a manual car is more difficult.
With a stick shift it’s easy and natural to change gears. If you have to slow down on slick roads, gently shifting down one gear at a time is safer than stepping on the brakes. When you brake hard in those conditions, there’s a risk of locking up the wheels, losing your traction and ultimately losing control.
One thing to watch out for: avoid quick and jerky downshifts. The clutch suddenly cutting in or out can cause tire slippage too.
Sometimes it’s easier to move a manual vehicle out from a stop on a slippery road. With good clutch control, you can start with a low engine and tire speed and be less likely to spin. There’s one exception: it’s tricky to get started uphill on an icy road in a stick shift car.
There are a few blanket rules for all bad weather conditions for both a manual and an automatic vehicle. For example, leave plenty of room to the vehicle ahead. Slow down. Don’t use cruise control, but maintain your own speed control and make small adjustments as necessary.