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Your Class 3 driving license doesn’t mean you’re a better driver than a Class 3A

Your Class 3 driving license doesn’t mean you’re a better driver than a Class 3A



There goes a saying that Real men drive with 3 pedals./Real men drive manual cars., and even though that’s not the case, most male (and female) drivers have certainly had that thought at the back of their mind when it comes to taking their license.


According to the 2020 Annual Traffic Statistics, out of the 3 million citizens holding a Qualified Driving License (QDL), 1.7 million (56.9%) individuals have a Class 3 license while only 200 thousand (6.58%) individuals have a Class 3A license.

While it was a no-brainer for me to take Class 3A for my driving license, my dad met my decision with a disapproving sigh before simply stating that having a Class 3 license is “simply the better option”.


Most of my male (and female) relatives and friends were quick to comment on the convenience of having a manual license. “It’s better because you can drive both manual and automatic cars on the road,” my dad would often say, “and it makes you a better driver.”.

Having a manual license isn't all that useful. . .   

Oddly enough, that sentence stuck with me throughout my teenage years – “Manual drivers are better drivers”. I wasn’t sure if I believed it wholeheartedly, to be honest. After all, my father (a manual driver) had also gotten his fair share of traffic accidents.


Because of their incessant repetition of this traditional mindset, I opted to try for a manual license, only for me to realise that there isn’t a real need for me to learn how to drive with a clutch.

. . . here's why:

Most cars run on automatic transmission nowadays, and unless I’m intending to get a van or a sports car (that I can't afford), learning how to drive with three pedals was virtually useless.


Besides the type of vehicles that one could drive with a manual license, I don’t see it as any different than having an automatic driving license.

The only thing that separates these two is pridepride in the ability to manoeuvre a transmission that is slowly going out of style.

As someone who has grown up around manual drivers, I am here to tell you that having a manual license does not make you a better driver. So long as you don’t do stupid things and drive safely, you’re already 100 times better than the idiots listed below.




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I beg to differ with your opinion regarding how manual drivers aren't better drivers than automatic drivers with my reasons below.

Some of my points below can also be learned by automatic drivers, but I am pretty sure they do not teach them in driving lessons. 

1) Manual drivers learn about gears and engine RPM. 
Manual drivers are taught how to choose gears and where to find power/torque throughout the rev range. This is so we do not lug the engine at low RPMs and do not let the engine rev at high RPM consistently. Day to day driving you might not need such information, but this is especially important when you are driving up a hill/mountain (say Genting). This is why many drivers are stranded by the roadside during hill climbs as they do not know what is going on with their engine. Sure, automatic gearboxes help you to choose your gears, but in cases where you are going uphill and downhill the gearbox might not know when or where it should upshift, hold its gears or downshift. This brings me to my next point. 

2) Manual drivers learn about engine braking. 
As stated in the previous point, manual drivers are taught which gears are to be selected, which helps in engine braking. Engine braking is especially useful when (again), you're going downhill. This allows you to not ride your brakes the entire time downhill causing brake fade and/or warping of brake rotors due to high temp. Correct choices of gear when going downhill helps increase engine brake or prevent overrevving of the engine, which can lead to overheating. 

3) Manual drivers have arguably better car control. 
The knowledge of how to release your clutch onto the flywheel properly teaches the driver how not to upset the balance of the car throughout corners. To date, there are plenty of drivers that brake throughout an entire corner or break intermittently throughout the corner which is a big no-no as that shifts the weight of your car into snap oversteer. A manual driver subconsciously knows that they are not supposed to downshift mid-corner as this upsets the balance of the car due to weight shift. This makes a manual driver know that they are supposed to slow down (brake and downshift with engine braking) before a corner, then steadily applying a constant pressure of throttle throughout the corner. Some even more experienced drivers then learn heel and toe downshifting to prevent even more upset to the balance of the car. 

Of course, if you know all this information, you can apply them to an automatic car, which will make you a better driver. But sad to say, I am very confident that most 3A drivers do not know about this information while a class 3 driver will know them like 2nd nature as it is the way they are taught to drive a car. 

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If I may add to this based on my own experience, after going through a few months of driving a manual car in order to get my Class 3 license, I moved on to drive my family's auto car after getting the license. Suddenly I had so much spare mental capacity, since I no longer had to worry about changing gears, that I could better observe what was happening on the road, how other motorists were behaving, spot and avoid potentially dangerous situations before they developed, etc

So my point is, learning to drive manual stretches your mental capacity and likely improves it during this time as well. With that, hopefully you become a better driver (I believe I did) when moving on to auto driving.

But this post makes an important point as well. Say by the time it's 2040, most if not all vehicles will be electric, which means they won't have a gearbox. Manual driving will be irrelevant to most of the driving population.

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I have been driving since the 90s and have driven different cars with different gearbox. Back then we dont have a choice, class 3 driver's license has only one class. Not all auto are made the same and not all manual are made the same. I would not want to generalize either of them.

If you ask me which I will choose if I am like 18yo today. I would choose 3A cos it is indeed a no brainer as most vehicles now including commercial vehicles are in auto. Today's auto gearbox has more gear ratios and is programmed to shift faster and is more fuel efficient than the manual. 

Edited by Watwheels
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This is just trolling for responses and I’ll hold fire till I see where this dumpster fire is going 

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A whole lot of empty rationalisation masquerading as a "reasoned" blog post. Yawn. Not worth responding to. 

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Rubbish post. No doubt most cars are now on automatic transmission. However, there are still many lorry and vans on manual. You will never know when you need to drive one. Be it for work, or for emergency.

Because....... "Real men are qualified to use 3 pedals"

Edited by Sunset73
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By the way, the only thing I like about this (otherwise idiotic) blog post is the beautiful image of the R8 gated shifter.

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