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My girlfriend is a new driver and she's uncomfortable with driving mostly due to lack of experience in my opinion. I'm going to need to get her ready for our drive back to Vegas in September. She's driven my car in a parking lot, never getting out of first gear, does anyone have suggestions of how to get her comfortable with driving and how is the best method to teach someone to drive stick? She hasn't driven my car in about a year and it's likely the most tame car she's ever driven by far. I need advice here as it's super important to get her comfortable and ready to drive my 5 speed Insight on our cross country drive.
 

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I guess it depends on her problem? Is it because its your car, is it engagement issue with the clutch? Is it driving in general or does she drive an automatic ok?

Id try her in the parking lot with first and reverse, then try to add second tot he mix, then maybe 3rd. Id think for the most part you could coach her through it and once she is in 5th she sould be good to go for a few hundred miles.

When I traveled to WV and PA I missed a few exits to get ready to slow down fast enough. Im use to the long ramps in VA to get off and back on where in some cases you had 100 ft to go from 70 to 25 or even the parking lot that was for both the gas station and fast food place.
 

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I guess it depends on her problem? Is it because its your car, is it engagement issue with the clutch? Is it driving in general or does she drive an automatic ok?

Id try her in the parking lot with first and reverse, then try to add second tot he mix, then maybe 3rd. Id think for the most part you could coach her through it and once she is in 5th she sould be good to go for a few hundred miles.

When I traveled to WV and PA I missed a few exits to get ready to slow down fast enough. Im use to the long ramps in VA to get off and back on where in some cases you had 100 ft to go from 70 to 25 or even the parking lot that was for both the gas station and fast food place.
No, I took her over to a parking lot last year and she only stalled out once or twice. She's just unsure about her ability to drive which scares her, she's even scared of driving automatic cars. When I last took her out to drive stick she never really got out of 1st because the lot was too small, so we mainly did stop and go and circles in 1st.

We're going to a much larger lot up in Fairfax County at the NOVA Annandale campus on a weekend so she can get well above 1st gear. She's never done reverse in my car before so that will be interesting.
 

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She sounds a bit like my wife was when we married. He father had tried to teach her to drive and had instead traumatized her. Recognizing that one really can't function well in modern America without driving, in many situations, I decided try again.

By keep the conversation low key, soft spoken and patient, I quickly discovered the trauma problem as the basic issue. I also learned a lot myself in the process.

I discovered that, for my best gal, the basic problem was that the trauma had led to a severe lack of self confidence. By deliberately being very patient and practicing a lot in parking lots, I found that her confidence level gradually increased, but it was very a slow process. We then "graduated" to lightly traveled roads where she could drive more realisticly. She eventually gained enough skill and confidence that she could pass the driving test and get her license - and she continue to learn over time. She eventually became a very safe driver with a great driving record.

So bottom line -patience, practice, and positive feedback along the way:)
 

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Does she have a drivers license?

Sam
 

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She sounds a bit like my wife was when we married. He father had tried to teach her to drive and had instead traumatized her. Recognizing that one really can't function well in modern America without driving, in many situations, I decided try again.

By keep the conversation low key, soft spoken and patient, I quickly discovered the trauma problem as the basic issue. I also learned a lot myself in the process.

I discovered that, for my best gal, the basic problem was that the trauma had led to a severe lack of self confidence. By deliberately being very patient and practicing a lot in parking lots, I found that her confidence level gradually increased, but it was very a slow process. We then "graduated" to lightly traveled roads where she could drive more realisticly. She eventually gained enough skill and confidence that she could pass the driving test and get her license - and she continue to learn over time. She eventually became a very safe driver with a great driving record.

So bottom line -patience, practice, and positive feedback along the way:)
Yeah she lacks confidence big time, last year before she had a license only a learners permit, I took her by my old high school lot which has a drivers ed course on the back. We mainly just drove around in circles in 1st gear and did a lot of stop and go as that's the hardest part. She only stalled out once or twice. She apparently has difficulty staying in the lane. But the Insight is tame because of it's small engine power and the car is tiny so should be easier than her father's Honda Oddessy minivan to stay in the lane.

Does she have a drivers license?

Sam
Yes, she has a valid Virginia drivers license.
 

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Does she smoke? Maybe you should let her light up while driving? I smoked when I got my license and I use to pull over for smoke breaks and of all places the rear of a gas station. It was something else, but I slowly got over it and stopped smoking a few years later.
 

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Does she smoke? Maybe you should let her light up while driving? I smoked when I got my license and I use to pull over for smoke breaks and of all places the rear of a gas station. It was something else, but I slowly got over it and stopped smoking a few years later.
Not cigarettes, no..lol
 

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How did it go? My new car is a 5 speed and I find im more comfortable double clutching it. :evil: To start off I release the clutch 90% then reclutch it once I start to move then release the clutch the second time. I shift at 3 grand, engine runs at 3500 at 70.
 

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Do you have any less travel back roads she could practice on? My dad taught me on open, country roads. You can at least get up to 4th on some of them, and without anyone around, it takes the pressure off the hesitant driver. Plus, you can pull over and relax if she's having a hard time.

I learned to drive and stick at the same time and it was tricky and frustrating at first, it killed two birds with one stone. A good old adage my dad and brother used to say to me to calm my nerves, "grind 'em 'til ya find 'em". Always made me laugh when I was stressed and frustrated.
 

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I've tried to teach a few people to drive stick. The most difficult hurdle is the student's fear. Anyone can learn if they keep trying, but for people that have driven automatics their whole life, manuals are scary and they may feel stupid whenever they screw up trying to drive one. So, when they screw up, make sure they know that it's normal and part of the learning process. Like others said, keep the conversation calm and relaxed with as much positive reinforcement as possible.

When it comes to the details of what to tell them to do, keep in mind that the learner will need to learn how to do everything slowly before they can do it quickly. Getting the car moving from a dead stop without stalling the engine or reving too high is the most difficult part to get a feel for. People that are used to it do it quickly and may have forgotten the details on how to do it slowly. In the beginning, don't even let them press the gas. Have them practice slowly letting the clutch out while in first until the car starts to roll, then let out the clutch even more slowly until the car is rolling fast enough to let it out all the way. This way, they get a concept of being partially in/out of gear while figuring out the portion of the clutch pedal travel that matters.
 

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+1 on what Johnny said.

One confidence building move, once you get onto a roadway at some moderate speed, is to practice the 3rd/4th gear upshift/downshift. That is easy because it doesn't go through the center shift gate and she is not likely to stall the car doing that.

Also remember that the shifter is spring loaded out of second to position it for a simple push forward into third.

He is also right that the biggest problem is fear. Whatever you do, don't shout. That does noting to build confidence;)
 

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I find my biggest problem is rev matching. Ive thought about using an rpm shift light and rig it up as a rev limiter when the clutch petal is depressed its at the right point. Lie a diy no lift shift or 2nd shift setup. Maybe just using the 2 shift lights to tell me rpms to shift out and to shift into a gear?

I find when I go through the gears I have the revs too low when I enter the next gear and you get a whip lash like effect. Other times Im a bit high and you get a similar jerk entering the next gear? Maybe I should ride the cutch to make up the difference vs doing a full release?

When I do not have the ac on I can hear the engine rev briefly between shifts when I lift off the clutch. Its like there is a delay in me lifting off the throttle and the rpms falling unless the ac is on to load it down.

Typically first gear I release the clutch 90% so I do not stall or squeal tires. The rest I release it 100% and just tap the clutch to go between gears.

Usually I do pretty good if the radio is low enough I can shift by ear, but thats not always the case. :evil:
 

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Find a go cart track and do some laps, get the basics of steering and braking, carts are fun too, that may translate into making driving fun. BTW, if she keeps hitting the tires, don't let her drive your car. Good luck, this is the 3rd person this week I've heard about with no license, weird.

As for teaching a stick, I like to start the person off on a slight uphill, they are not aware that hills are tricky, so they learn the tricky part first, they learn level ground is easy.
 
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