A question was raised in a conversation a few days ago that seems worth exploring. What, if anything, does your transmission type preference say about your personality?
By transmission type, of course, we mean automatic or manual. Here’s the theory on what they say…
You are all about control. Type A personalities prefer the manual transmission because it gives them more control over speed, RPMs, and the cool VROOM noise the car makes when not in gear. Rad, to be sure. And it sounds exactly like the noises you made on the playground in grade school when playing with Hot Wheels.
A manual transmission has a few downsides, of course, like trying to take off while facing uphill. No worries. You like that kind of challenge. And if you manage to scare the driver behind you a little so they give you some distance, bonus.
Let’s not leave out the ability to downshift, of course. Aside from the “back off” move it allows you, it also grants you the magical power to reach down and grab some additional RMPs as needed, which can then catapult you forward when you shift to the next gear.
In short, the manual transmission is all about power and control.
The auto driver, on the other hand, is all about a smooth ride. Why do the extra work when the machine can handle it just as well (or better, in most cases)? Automatics trade a little bit of gas mileage in exchange for hassle free driving, allowing them to focus on other things. You rarely see a manual transmission driver eating cereal and reading the paper while driving, do you?
Let’s give credit to the automatics for using their time wisely, right? After all, they can perform other tasks (calls, email, self-foot massaging) that then manual driver will find challenging. So perhaps the automatics are more interested in efficiency and ease of use than their control-hungry counterparts?
Let’s not forget these people. They are the ones with the manual automatic transmission. This is the type found in high end cars that will do the work for you, but offer up the steering wheel paddle shifters, just in case you want to take control. Maybe the best of both worlds, or maybe just for people who can’t commit. Probably the former.
To be clear, this isn’t an argument about which transmission is safer or better. I’ve driven both types, and they both have advantages. Some will argue manuals are safer because they demand your attention, making it less likely you will multitask. There is not easily accessible data on crash statistics, but insurance rates are not significantly different between the transmission types, which implies one is not inherently safer than the other.
I’d love to hear from you which type you prefer, and if the descriptions above align with your personality type. Just curious.