Many learner drivers struggle with clutch control whilst learning to drive, so naturally either opt or consider taking automatic driving lessons and the automatic driving test.
Automatic driving lessons and the test can certainly be easier and often ultimately quicker to reach test standard than manual, although it is worth considering the problems associated with an automatic driving licence long-term. Discussed are the benefits and problems associated with an automatic driving licence and learning to drive in an automatic.
Automatic driving lessons
When it comes to learning to drive, a large amount of this time is designated to controlling the car. The gears and clutch operation in manual transmission being the significant factor. Of course learning to drive in an automatic will eliminate this issue, allowing you to progress at a higher rate and concentrate on other tasks rather than the clutch and gears.
Everybody has their own ability when learning to drive although it is likely that you will need less driving lessons to reach test standard in an automatic than in a manual transmission.
Automatic driving lessons are often more expensive compared to manual lessons, which may reduce any financial benefits gained by reaching test standard quicker in an automatic.
Automatic driving lessons are more expensive due to automatic cars use slightly more fuel than a manual equivalent, plus fewer learners request automatic lessons which may provide an automatic driving instructor with less income.
Taking the automatic driving test
The driving test procedure for an automatic is exactly the same as a manual. A learner driver that is prone to stalling due to lack of clutch control may find that they stall more during the test due to nerves and stress.
Stalling isn’t necessarily a fail, it really depends on where you stall and how you recover from the stall. If you stall in the middle of a busy crossroads for example and move off again abruptly with no regard for others, this may lead to a test failure.
Taking the driving test in an automatic will of course eliminate these issues. Manoeuvres such as parallel parking require a high level of clutch control in a manual, particularly when stopping on sloping cambers. This is eliminated in automatic cars and hill starts during the test are also made significantly easier.
Automatic driving licence
There certainly are benefits in taking automatic lessons and driving tests, it is worth taking a look at the long term problems that may be involved in having a automatic driving licence.
Benefits of an automatic driving licence
- Initially it may require less driving lessons reducing the costs of learning to drive. This depends on your ability however as automatic driving lessons are often more expensive than the equivalent manual.
- The driving test will be easier to pass in an automatic if you are prone to stalling.
- Automatic cars can be safer to drive as there is no need to concentrate on gears and clutch.
- Automatic cars are for some, easier to drive.
Disadvantages of an automatic driving licence
- If you are a holder of an automatic driving licence, you are not legally entitled to drive a manual transmission vehicle unless as a learner driver with supervising passenger.
- If at some point you need to rent a car, many car rental garages may not have automatic available.
- If your car breaks down, they may not be able to provide an automatic courtesy car.
- Whilst looking to purchase a automatic vehicle, less are available.
- Automatic vehicles cost more to purchase than the equivalent manual version.
- Automatic vehicles can consume more fuel than the manual equivalent.
- If you wish to start driving manual transmission vehicles, you will need to retake the driving test. This may possibly require some driving lessons off a qualified driving instructor to regain driving skills.
Emergency stop automatic
During the driving there is around a 1-in-3 chance of the examiner requesting the emergency stop. The emergency stop article explains the procedure in detail and what is expected during a driving test. The emergency stop in an automatic is essentially the same. Once the examiner has given the signal to stop, upon stopping the car, apply the handbrake and then place the gear lever into the park position.
The examiner will now inform you to proceed when you are ready. Now put the gear lever into drive, hand on the handbrake ready, all-round observation, signal if necessary and remove handbrake.
Automatic or manual driving test?
After reading the advantages and disadvantages of automatic driving licences, it is certainly beneficial to learn to drive in a manual and ideally pass the manual driving test. Take driving lessons in a manual car initially, if after a few lessons you still can’t get to grips with the clutch and gears, try another driving instructor. It’s not to say that the instructor is bad, just you may find another instructor approach to teaching easier to understand. If after trying another driving instructor fails, an automatic driving test and licence is likely the way forward for you.