Learning in an automatic


When it comes to learning to drive, you have two options as to the type of car you can learn in. You can either choose to learn in a manual transmission car or alternatively you could opt to learn in an automatic transmission car.

It is more common to learn in a manual car, this is basically where you change gears yourself using the clutch, most conventional cars are manual. The alternative is to learn in an automatic vehicle, this type of car has no clutch and the car changes gear automatically meaning it is one less thing to worry about and you can put your full concentration into the other aspects of learning. An automatic car has a selector in place of a gear lever. The driver selects 'D' (drive). From then on the automatic will change to a higher gear as you increase speed and to a lower gear as it falls. It also takes account of hills.

Automatic cars can make learning to drive easier, particularly for older or disabled people. However, if you take your test in an automatic car, your Driving Licence will only entitle you to drive automatic cars, not manual cars. A full automatic licence only acts as a Provisional Licence for a manual car. You'll need to take and pass another test to get a full manual Driving Licence. Some cars are described by their manufacturers as having manual and automatic gears, but any vehicles with two pedals will also be classed as automatics.

Learning to start, stop and steer is much easier in automatic cars. The right foot should normally be used to control the accelerator and foot brake. Because there is no clutch, your left foot should not need to be used at all.

When the initial gear selection has been made, usually when the vehicle is stopped, all subsequent changes are carried out automatically. They are regulated by the car's speed and the pressure applied on the accelerator.

When driving automatic cars, the brakes have to be used more often to avoid its natural tendency to creep forwards.

Automatic cars enable drivers to concentrate on the more important things, such as planning ahead and steering. It makes learning to drive easier, particularly for older or disabled people. Your instructor should explain about the extra use of the handbrake and different techniques used to control the car at low speeds.

Remember: You can take the driving test in an automatic car. However, when you pass your test, your driving licence will only entitle you to drive an Automatic. If you wanted to drive a manual car, you would have to take the manual test.

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