Learning to drive an automatic car

Driving an automatic is easier than driving a manual

If you’re switching, it feels strange at first – your left leg unconsciously looks for the clutch, and your hand itches to reach for the handle of the gearbox on every crossroad.

Gradually, those things stop, and your body shifts focus; instead of thinking about the change of gears, it makes you start scanning the crossroad’s surroundings for possible surprises, like a stray pet or careless child. You grip the wheel more confidently and drive more aware of what’s going on around you…

Of course, you might be just starting your adventure with driving. That’s just as well, because with just a few lessons, like, for example automatic driving lessons Southampton, you can grasp the basics, without having to let go of the manual’s habits first.

Just for the record, lessons can be taken at any level of advancement. That means, if you were riding a manual and want to switch to automatic, you can also book an hour or more with automatic driving lessons in Southampton, and still enjoy your time as an automat’s driver just as much.

Learning to drive an automatic car
A word about automatic and manual transmission

As the car market develops, so do our possibility to choose certain aspects of the vehicle: big or small? Red or blue? Shiny or matte?

However important those questions might be, there’s one more issue that deciding on should take priority, as it changes everything: manual or automatic transmission vehicle?

What’s the difference?

For starters, the absolute basics change – the automatic transmission has only two pedals, as opposed to the manual’s three. The one that disappears is the clutch, leftmost pedal, that’s needed to be pressed during the change of gears manoeuvre in manual transmission.

That manoeuvre is also absent from driving a car with an automatic gearbox, because the vehicle does it for you – automatically.

Those small differences affect everything, from the smoothness of the drive, to the wear and tear damage innermost parts of your car take.


Automatic change of gears is almost invisible for the person driving. The transmission system is designed to raise or lower the gear smoothly together with a change in demand for the speed your car is supposed to reach. Your job is to give it a signal through the throttle or brake.

On the other hand, manual demands for you to reach the correct speed and a number of engine revs, before pressing the clutch (it will cause a drop in revs, so you need to remember about that as well), changing the gear manually through the right movement, then releasing the clutch – again, incorrect way, so as not to choke your engine. Although, different to the automatic, manuals allow you to show off the power of your engine by revving it (or, force it to work on higher rev than needed for the current speed, causing it to create a characteristic roar), it is not by any means a feature needed for safe or practical driving.


Some people insist manual allows them to feel more in control of the vehicle. While that might be true, as the manual lets you control the slightest change inside of your car, it heightens the rate at which the car wears down.

Every raise of speed prompts gear increase, every slowing down a gear reduction.

While it’s true also for automatic transmission, allowing automat to chose the moment of gear change makes it more effective and less straining on the engine system of the car. There’s no distraction for automat, no outside surroundings it also needs to pay attention to while changing gears – different to the driver.

For example, in a sudden situation like a passerby entering the road, the driver’s natural reaction should be hitting brakes to avoid a tragedy. While in manual, your engine still works on higher gear and simultaneously slows down because of brakes, automatic transmission car has already started gear reduction. You probably know which is better, for both your brakes and engine.


In short – whether you’re a beginner driver, or a manual-driving person wishing for the widening of their driving skill potential – learning to drive an automatic car is a good idea.