Published On: Fri, Jul 3rd, 2020

Is it Beneficial to Learn to Drive an Automatic Car?

Depending on whom you ask, automatic driving lessons are either a great idea or the exact opposite. It’s purely a matter of personal opinion, although there are certainly benefits to driver tuition in an automatic car.

A few examples of which are as follows:

  • You don’t have to learn how to use a clutch and gear stick
  • No risk of stalling at junctions
  • Automatics make hill starts easy 
  • No risk of rolling back 
  • Less to think and worry about while driving
  • You may need fewer lessons
  • Often a less stressful experience

Saudi woman driving, photo screenshot YouTube

When deciding between manual and automatic for your intensive driving course, it is important to consider the downsides of an automatic car licence.

What Are the Downsides of Automatic Driving Lessons?

There are only a few downsides to automatic driving lessons, with the main one being that you are restricted to driving an automatic transmission. A manual licence allows the driver to operate both automatic and manual vehicles. 

Nevertheless, if you only ever intend to drive automatics, this isn’t really an issue. What matters is passing your test quickly and confidently, which you may find significantly easier in an automatic car.

Another downside to consider is that often cars with automatic transmissions can be more costly to purchase and maintain in comparison to vehicles with a manual transmission. 

How Does the Automatic Driving Test Work?

There are no major differences between an automatic driving test and a traditional manual transmission test. You will be tested on exactly the same competencies and general driver safety areas, with the same number of minor faults allowed.

As it stands right now, the practical driving test process in the UK (whether manual or automatic) looks like this:

  1. An initial eyesight test, where you will be asked to read a licence plate of a vehicle from a distance of 20.5 metres. 
  2. Two ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions, one before the practical test gets underway and the other during the drive, as a demonstration of general vehicle knowledge and road safety.
  3. Total instructed driving time of approximately 40 minutes, during which you will encounter a variety of traffic conditions and road types.
  4. One in every three practical driving tests will include an emergency stop, which will be performed in a suitably safe location.
  5. You will usually be asked to perform just one manoeuvre during your test, which you will have practiced dozens of times in your driving lessons.
  6. 15 minutes of independent driving which is either following a Sat Nav or following road traffic signs. There will be no input or instruction from your examiner during that time, unless for safety reasons or if you need to ask for clarification.

When the test comes to an end, your examiner will tell you whether you have passed or failed, before going through their observations and any faults recorded.

Can I Take a Manual Test After Learning in an Automatic?

Learning in an automatic has no bearing on your eligibility for a manual driving test. If you have already booked an automatic driving test and would like to switch to a manual test, it’s advisable to give your test centre at least one week’s notice.

The same also applies in reverse, if you have been learning in a manual vehicle but would prefer to take your test in an automatic, contact your test centre ahead of time.

Author: Rachel Upton

driving car

Image/Free-Photos via pixabay

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