A Lesson: Driving a clutch

By Leslie Parks - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I remember when it was my first drive in driver's ed.  We were asked if we've driven before and I said yes. When it was my turn to get into the driver's seat, I didn't know how to make the car drive.  It was an automatic and I had only driven a stick shift. The instructor was frustrated and said "I thought you said you knew how to drive." and he rolled his eyes.  We didn't have an automatic at home.  I had no idea that you put it in drive and it went forward. I couldn't find the clutch. I was flustered to say the least.  Flash forward 39 years. I am a mom with teenagers. We have one vehicle with a clutch and two automatics. Isaac learned how to drive an automatic first and that's all he's driven for the last two years. I've been planning for a while to teach him how to drive a stick shift so when part of the family went back to Montana, I decided to take advantage of the time and teach him how to drive.  The two of us stayed so that Isaac could work and I had a scheduled wedding to photograph. It turned out that we both had more time than we originally thought we would.  We took the truck to the river so the dog could swim and on the way I explained how to work the clutch while I was driving so that he could hear the engine at the same time. Then it was his turn to drive home. I think the dog is a little scarred from riding in the truck with Isaac.  He hates the vehicle to begin with but now it takes a lot of coaxing to get him to put his front legs up on the tailgate. Each day after that we would force the dog into the back of the truck and Isaac would drive to the river and then home again. At one point we were crossing the tracks and I think Isaac stopped breathing when the train signal sounded and the gates started to come down. He hit the gas and we shot the rest of the way across the track. All he could think of was stalling the vehicle and became nervous.  Each time he drove he improved and then came the time to drive around the neighborhood with out me.  Now a couple more times to the river and back and we will try driving in town and stopping on hills.

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