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Old 25 April 2011, 06:00 PM
Diabolus Ex Deus's Avatar
Diabolus Ex Deus Diabolus Ex Deus is offline
Join Date: 19 August 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 110

Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
There is also the whole issue of correlation vs causality or "the chicken and the egg" question.

Even if the numbers are true would that mean that driving a stick shift keeps a driver more alert and hence safer? Or is it that skillful drivers are more likely to select a stick shift when choosing a car?

Stick shifts tend to be the transmission of choice for car enthusiasts, the kind of people who understand engines, cars, gear ratios and consider diving to be passion. That's not quite the same as a person who can't figure out how to work a stick shift and only really considers driving to be the only way to get around town (which it is for many in the US) and who's knowledge of cars ends with mashing the gas and pointing the car in the desired direction of travel.
I have to agree that it is possible that particular correlation exists. I have only ever owned cars with manual transmissions because I absolutely love driving. If driving is just a means to an end, driving a manual transmission would just be a huge inconvenience. In my case, the manual transmission puts me in better control of the car and quite literally links my movements to the performance of the car. This is the kind of thing that demands more attention and likely reduces the chances of being distracted.
Since there's no real evidence one way or the other from what I can tell, I just have to go by my own experience. For example, both my wife and I have never been in an accident behind the wheel (been driving manual transmission for 12 and 17 years respectively), whereas my brother, who has never owned a manual transmission car, has totaled his last 3 cars (though not at fault, he could have avoided them by paying better attention).
Certainly there is nothing scientific about my anecdote, but it certainly hints at a correlation in my personal experience.
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