Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook

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Standard (manual) transmission vehicles

Driving a vehicle with a standard (manual) transmission requires significant practice and skill. Drivers should read the vehicle owner's manual for information specific to their vehicle.


  • know your gear pattern so you are able to shift gears without looking at the gear shift
  • take the engine's RPM (revolutions per minute), choice of gear and road speed into consideration when shifting gears
  • shift gears in order (e.g., 2 to 3 to 4, or 4 to 3 to 2)
  • never force a gear
  • never coast in neutral
  • never depress the clutch (riding the clutch) for extended periods of time. The clutch should only be used when starting and stopping the vehicle, and to change gears.
  • become familiar with accelerator and clutch timing. Poor timing from one to the other can cause the vehicle to jolt, jump or stall.

You should shift to neutral (or declutch) during emergencies or when stopping in winter driving conditions. This gives you better control over your vehicle by disconnecting the engine from the drive wheels. If you are stopping on a slippery surface and are in neutral, then your drive wheels are not driving the car forward while you are trying to stop. You stop more easily over a shorter distance.

It is important to shift to neutral properly. With an automatic transmission, push the gear selector away from you with an open palm.

In a manual transmission vehicle, declutch; that is, push the clutch down to the floor and hold it there and shift into neutral.

When parking a vehicle with a standard (manual) transmission, ensure the vehicle is in (first) gear, not in neutral, before leaving the vehicle. This is to prevent the vehicle from freely moving forward or backward while parked.

Standard (manual) transmission training is available from certain SGI certified driver educators.

Use the Driver Educator locator at for a list of SGI certified driver educators.

Neutral / Clutch Neutral / Clutch Neutral / Clutch


Rev: 2017