– I have more freedom in manual. Then I’m free to buy the car I want and take out a loan without having to worry about whether I have a ticket for it, says Dua Hansen Melver (18) from Lindas in North Hartland.
On October 24, he passed the drive-up test for the manual transmission. Glad she did.
– Driving a manual car is more fun than an automatic car. An automatic only has the gas and brake, but with a manual I change gears and have to think more about what I’m doing, says Melver.
Complete with manual transmission
The 18-year-old goes against the flow. Because most people are going to learn to drive in a car with an automatic transmission. In 2002, it applied to 51 percent of Class B driver’s licenses, compared to 17 percent in 2017.
The trend is now so strong that many traffic schools are now ceasing to offer driving lessons “the old way”.
One of them is the Positive Traffic School in Bergen. On Tuesday, they handed over their last car with a manual transmission. Henceforth only electric cars with automatic transmission will be used.
– It’s because they see less interest, says general manager Ove Sagen-Hofstad.
Some people still say they want to take the label on a manual transmission “for safety,” he says. He believes it is unnecessary.
Sagen-Hafstad believes that problems such as renting a car abroad and fewer job opportunities will not become a reality in the coming years.
– In Spain, for example, there is often a 25-year age limit for renting a car. By the time today’s 16-year-olds are 25, most cars out there will be electrified, says Sagan-Hofstad.
He pointed out that if you want to drive with a manual transmission, just start again.
– Pay more attention to traffic safety
Øyvind Årbogen, senior adviser on training for the Norwegian Association of Driving Schools, says they are seeing the same trend.
– More and more people are finding that the handling is poor when driving an automatic, and the possibility of getting a car with a manual transmission is decreasing.
He knows of several traffic schools in eastern Norway, like the Positive Traffic School in Bergen.
He believes this is an exclusively positive development.
– I don’t think there are any negative aspects to it. In the future, this will apply automatically.
Knut Olav Nestas, regional manager of Trike Traffic i Westland, believes that driving with an automated car means spending time on the most important things in traffic. That means more focus on traffic.
– If you think about road safety and traveling in a safe way, it is not primarily about grabbing and changing gears. It’s about completely different things, he says.
The Norwegian Automobile Association (NAF) sees the benefit of new drivers doing less behind the wheel so they can focus on what’s going on around the car.
– As a new driver with automatic transmissions, you can focus more on traffic and your own behavior than shifting gears, says NAF consultant John Harry Svendsen.
– However, we should not end up in a situation where those who wish to obtain a driver’s license for a manually-geared car will no longer have the opportunity to do so. In that case it is legal to have trained in a car with a manual gearbox. Until that requirement exists, driving schools must ensure that cars with manual transmissions are available.
— Big market in the district
Øyvind Feste, owner and general manager of Feste Traffic School in Knarvik, feels there is a bigger market for manual transmissions than in Bergen.
– Few people in the country swear by manual gears. But he says it is decreasing.
Feste points out several reasons why people stick to manual transmission in rural areas. Additionally, there is a higher proportion of fossil fuel powered cars than cities. Attitudes towards electricity in rural areas are characterized by range anxiety and few charging stations, says Feste.
He was oblivious to the fact that his driving school would one day be fully automated.
– The switch to automatic transmission is not many years away, but we intend to offer manual transmission for a few more years.
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