My daughter finally received her driver’s licence this week. She’s a good driver when it comes to an automatic, but the car she will be driving around is a manual, which is a much different driving experience. For anyone who’s ever driven a clutch you know what I mean.
Having taught my oldest to drive a clutch, I knew we needed an empty space for her practice. I took her to an empty parking lot, explained the mechanics of what she needed to do with her feet then told her to start the car and try it. Of course she let off the clutch too fast and killed it. I smiled as we jerked forward. This happened with my oldest son too.
“It’s okay. You need to let off the clutch slower and give it more gas.”
Of course, the next time she kept the clutch engaged too long and put her foot down on the gas too hard, revving the engine far too high. The sound scares her and she jerks off the clutch and gas and the car jerks forward an dies. I chuckled.
“Give it a little less gas and start to come off the clutch just a hair faster.”
She was successful getting the car into motion this time, though is was a bumpy start. We circled around the parking lot, going from first to second gear to stopping and making her do it all over again. I laughed most of the time, but within an hour I knew she now needed to take the car on an actual road to finish her training.
At the very first stop sign, a truck pulled up behind her. I had told her to take her time and make sure the other direction was clear before pulling onto the road. Just in case she killed the car, I didn’t want her doing that right in front of oncoming traffic. So she didn’t shoot the first gap that came along, she deemed the next car too close. I didn’t disagree with her, but the truck behind us started laying on his horn. It only stressed her out more.
“Ignore him. After this next vehicle it will be safe for you to go.”
Her start is supper slow, but she doesn’t kill it. The truck behind us swings wide around us and flips us off. I rolled my eyes at his lack of patience.
“It’s okay. You’re doing just fine.”
After a rough start and major hit to her confidence, she actually started to get the hang of it. We drove all over town, her stops and starts growing smoother like a seasoned clutch driver. She got honked at only two more times. Always for slow starts.
“And now you see why,” I told her, “they put “student driver” all over the cars you guys do your driving tests in. People aren’t very patient or kind without it.” Sadly, sometimes other vehicles aren’t even patient and kind with it, but my patience level has definitely risen with teaching the second child to drive. I was far less freaked out and ended up laughing more than anything. She has no idea how lucky she was not to be first.