Vive La Differences!

Some time ago I wrote about how it seemed that Americans tend not to hold the car on the clutch like I was taught and, I think, most Brits do. Today I learned another difference – putting the car in gear when leaving it. I’ve always noticed that my wife always leaves the MINI or the Jeep in gear when she gets out of it, but I never do and I’ve never seen that done at home. At work everyone was saying that they all do it and how they hadn’t (until now) met someone who didn’t. How odd.

In other news, getting gas this evening, heard a ripping and a dragging sound. Looked around and some idiot had driven off with the pump still in the tank and had ripped the nozzle right off the pump and taken out his gas tank cover too. You hear about that, but I’ve never seen it.

7 thoughts on “Vive La Differences!”

  1. Haha my dumbass ex-roommate drove away from the pump with the nozzle still in. Fortunately, the nozzle hoses have a quick-release so that they don’t damage and don’t spray gas everywhere. (I assume that it’s this way everywhere. I certainly hope so at least.)

  2. I never parked my last car in gear. But I have read so many people on MINI2 who made that mistake and found their mini down the street in someone’s yard or worse, and I vowed to change my ways when I bought the MINI. It took me no time at all to adjust and now I never forget.
    I think it was less important when cars had rear drum brakes, but the problem is the rear disks if warm from use will cool and contract, and the parking brake therefore looses its grip.
    One day after one of my roomates had moved my MINI to get theirs out of our sloped driveway, I sat in it and it immediately started rolling. They did not park it in gear and clearly didn’t pull the break hard enough. All it took was my weight to break friction.

  3. I totally agree. The driving style here is completely different, more laid-back and certainly less disciplined. My rational for this is based on the European focus on more technical driving in both theory and practice as is clearly seen in the both the training and testing standards. People in the US like to do other things while they are driving; eating, drinking etc. Hence the propensity for so many automatics and what seems like the dwindling availability of manual transmission vehicles. Even many imports like LandRover are now unavailable in a manual option.

  4. I’ve never seen the gas dispenser trick, but that would be totally awesome. At least for the point and laugh factor, right?

    Yea, sloped driveway here. MINI gets parked in gear and the e-brake applied lest she roll through the garage door.

  5. The one occasion I will leave the car in gear is when parked on a hill but just never think about it any other time.

    Talking about the handbrake makes me think of another difference – at home, I’d always engage the handbrake every time I’m stopped for more than a few seconds (like at a traffic light), but here everyone keeps their foot on the brake instead. I’ll admit that its a habit I’ve now gotten into, but I’m not proud of it.

  6. Even in (automatic) GBMINI#3 I am not comfortable sitting at lights with the brake applied, and regularly shift to neutral + handbrake.

    And I’m with paul on the putting-in-gear; I’d be surprised if I’ve done it more than 10 times in my life!

  7. My wife put her cars in neutral at lites but uses foot brake/clutch, I always use foot brake/clutch and leave in gear. I never used to place my cars in gear when parked but one day I heard a squealing noise about half way into house and found the MCS in street. So now I always put in gear, I have a steep driveway.

    I tried that “put in neutral use hand brake” stuff for a while but found it way too much exercise for our stop and go traffic in LA. And never got why one would want to do that unless you have to wait an extended stop. I guess it’s the whole “I may be in an accident” thing but I’d rather have less to do and react to the situation than have to put in the clutch release the hand brake select a gear stuff. I don’t think I know of anybody with a automatic trans that uses the handbrake, at least here in Cal.

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