Automatic Driving Lessons
The majority of cars on the road are “Manual” geared, and the majority of drivers learn to drive in “Manual” geared vehicles. Manual cars are those that have a traditional “Gear Stick” and “Clutch” setup which are used to move the car from one gear into another whilst driving.
Some learner drivers choose to learn and take their test on a car with an automatic gearbox. Very often this is because they view changing gears and using a clutch as “difficult”. In fact, it usually only takes a couple of lessons to master the timing of using a manual gearbox and selecting the appropriate gear.
Disadvantages of Automatic Lessons
One of the big disadvantages of learning on an automatic car and subsequently passing your test on it is that you are only qualified to drive automatic vehicles. This can have the effect of severely limiting your options later on when for one reason or another you want or need to drive a car with a manual gearbox, but can’t do so. Of course, if you learn and pass your test on a manual gearbox you are qualified to drive a car with an automatic gearbox so you have the best of both worlds.
You could also find that only having a licence to drive a car with an automatic gearbox might limit your job prospects. For instance, if you applied for a job as a delivery driver with a firm which has a fleet of small vans it is very unlikely that their vans would have automatic gearboxes, so you would not be able to get the job.
Not Much Quicker Than A Manual
Furthermore, learning to drive in an automatic car is not really any quicker than a manual. As we indicated, after a couple of lessons you should be able to use a manual gearbox with no problem. In addition, it is rare for anyone to fail the test owing to “use of gears” with a manual gearbox, but it is possible on an automatic. We know of one new driver (using another driving school) who failed his test in an automatic for just that reason. He selected “2” instead of “D” (for Drive) and continued the whole test in second gear!
Some people who pass the test in an automatic car later decide to take another test in a car with a manual gearbox. This involves them in taking a further series of lessons which obviously adds to the overall cost. We believe that it makes more sense both financially and practically to learn and take the test on a car with a manual gearbox from the outset.
Of course, ultimately the choice is entirely yours. At The UK Driving Centre we have a number of cars with automatic gearboxes and you are welcome to learn to drive in them if you so wish.