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Do you (or would you) drive a manual stick transmission in congested traffic each day?

Please share your experiences with driving a manual stick transmission vehicle in heavy traffic on a daily basis.

If you don’t drive a manual stick: imagine your daily commute to work goes through heavy traffic during rush hour through the congested city. Bumper to bumper. Slowing. Stop and go. Red light after red light.

Knowing you had this type of commute and you only want to budget for one vehicle, would you choose to drive a vehicle with manual stick transmission? (No paddle shifters).

Based on experience, no.

Yes. I love/prefer MT that much. And I would enjoy the MT that much more when I’m not in the kind of traffic you describe. An AT will be the same pedestrian experience even outside of heavy traffic.

Maybe I’ll change my tune as I get older–but not today.

I use to…but not in over 10 years.

Frustrating…no. Been driving manuals since the early 70’s. It use to be so second nature that I barely know I’m shifting.

"It use to be so second nature that I barely know I’m shifting."
Does this mean that manual stick drivers in congested traffic mostly don’t know they are shifting up and down so much, so it’s not as frustrating as it seems?

I do not do this now but in the past I’ve done a lot of it with manual trans cars. It wasn’t that big a deal to me.

The only manual that was an irritation in the daily rush hour grind was riding one of my antique Harleys. Those have the foot clutch with the handshifter on the gas tank. Since there’s a balance issue involved along with the constant foot clutching and returning the foot to the pavement for balance that type of or riding in traffic was aggravating and a bit dangerous.

Not dangerous due to me but dangerous due to the yokel behind who’s in a hurry and doesn’t get why it takes a second or two to clutch and shift while trying to retain balance to the right.

No way. I did that for a couple of decades. Traffic is so heavy these days that I just wouldn’t do it. When I did it, it was a pain in the left leg, and it would only be worse now. I switched to auto transmission because my wife thought it would be best if she could drive her car and mine; a reasonable request. I would not go back now. If I have something like a Corvette for fun (not commuting), I would still have auto transmission since it would be a touring car, not a racing car.

no problem. Like Mike, I did this up till about 12 years ago, when I bought my first car with auto transmission. But I would not drive a daily rush hour like the OP posits, standard or auto. I’d find different hours, different job or different home.

I’ve had many manuals before and though I don’t normally drive in rush hour traffic, when I did get caught in heavy traffic, I never wished that I had an automatic. It just never made a difference to me.

I just fantasize that I have a rocket launcher on the front bumper. And when the lane jumpers start weaving from lane to lane…I take them out.


I did it for 12 years, moderate traffic, then switched to an A/T, and won’t go back. But if you love a manual, that’s fine.

I Have 2 Fieros, 1 Is Manual, 1 Is Automatic. I Prefer The Automatic.
I Started Out Driving A 64 Manual Volkswagen Bug In The Sixties. Where’s The Thrill?

For Daily Drivers I’d Never Choose A Manual (Unless A Sports Car And It’s For Occasional Driving) . We Own 6 Automatics. Mark Me Down As One Who’s Not Going Back (And I Don’t Even Live Near A City/Town).

Does this mean that manual stick drivers in congested traffic mostly don't know they are shifting up and down so much, so it's not as frustrating as it seems?

I can’t speak for everyone…but it was for me. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself wondering how I got into 5th gear.

My Fiero Doesn’t Have A Cup Holder And Drinking My Morning Gallon Of Coffee And Shifting Was A PITA. Poured Hot Coffee On Myself More Than Once.

Then There’s Stop And Go Up Hills. Fun. I Learned To Heel & Toe It Early On In My Manual Driving Career. :wink:

If you’re competent at driving a manual transmission it’s not particularly frustrating. It can be tiring though.

There’s also the wear and tear issue, and how much life you want to get out of your clutch. Think about a 30 mile drive that takes you 100-120 minutes, constantly shifting, and doing that twice a day.

Many years ago, I had occasion to drive into NYC on a regular basis, and during that period of time, I had a stick shift car. Trust me…never again!

I stopped doing that in 1965.

Have a friend who always drove AT until her current MT Fiesta for economic reasons. She likes the control but finds it is killing her aging left knee in daily commuting so plans to trade for an AT vehicle soon.

No get an automatic. For a while I commuted to Minneapolis with a girl that had a manual transmission. We changed off each week, but I would have to drive her manual for the last 10 miles in heavy stop and go traffic. It was a killer on my knee pushing the clutch in to shift or to wait for cars to move again. Its just a pain and there really was no benefit at all to a manual except it was a little cheaper at the time for her to buy instead of an automatic. I had manuals before and it was not a big deal, but when you are in stop and go traffic every day, it gets old in a hurry.

For me in heavy commuter traffic mt or at is a toss up.

Not anymore. I drove the I-5 corridor near Seattle for about 2 years in a 5 speed vehicle. It built up my right arm and left leg which was noticeable to me anyway. I used to love shifting but that Seattle traffic put me off. I now love automatics and I’m getting older by the minute.