Driving School in Altrincham Freeway Driving School Blog Image July 2015

Learning to Drive: Manual Vs Automatic

You have two choices on the type of car you can learn to drive in: manual where you have to change gears by hand or automatic where the gears are changed for you by the car. When you are developing the skills to drive a car, one initial difficulty comes with changing gear and you might be forgiven for thinking that swapping to automatic will make things a whole lot easier.

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Opting for an automatic could mean you learn quicker and therefore spend less money on lessons and, after all, it’s a perfectly safe way to drive. Do you really need to worry about changing into 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th when all you want to do is get from A to B as quickly as possible? The one big problem with this option is that you may have difficulty finding a driving instructor who offers lessons in a car with automatic transmission.

Most driving instructors will advise you to take a manual test as it gives you the basic skills you need to drive any car. If you only have a licence for automatic cars then you will not be able to legally drive a manual and this could cause problems later down the line. For instance, if you start a job that comes with a manual car – you will need to retake your test and that will involve extra time and cost. If you have learned on a manual car then you will have the right licence to drive both a gear car and an automatic.

Because many drivers find it difficult at first to handle a manual vehicle there is always that urge to jump to an automatic. Persevere and you will find that changing gear will become second nature, as easily handled as any other basic skill. You will also have more choice when you come to buy your car once you have passed your test.

Automatic vehicles generally cost more than manual ones and use a bit more fuel because of the auto transmission. On the other hand, automatics tend to retain their value a little longer and they could be considered safer because you always have two hands on the wheel rather than reaching down to change gear. Most drivers who have switched to an automatic are happy with their choice and some even say they will never change back to a manual.

Whether you take your instruction in an automatic and or a manual, the driving test remains the same and is about your ability to handle the vehicle safely on the road. You will still have to reverse around a corner, do a hill start and make sure you use MSM effectively. And you will still have to learn your highway code.

Learning to drive is about a lot more than whether you change gears by hand or let your car do it and the amount of time you can shave off your tuition before you take your test is probably a lot less than most people think. More important is choosing the right driving instructor who will lead you through the various stages of learning to handle a car as quickly and safely as possible.

Contact Freeway Driving School in Altrincham for more information