Switching to an automatic
Hello. I have decided to switch to an automatic car after 3 years (on and off) of struggle trying to master learning in a manual. I've had 3 instructors and failed my test twice. I failed the first time with 16 minors (all related to clutch control and gears) and one major (stupidly drove on a bus lane). The second time I was so nervous I couldn't even start the car so didn't go ahead with the test so wasn't a failure technically. I've had over 75 hours and have come a long way but I have a serious coordination problem in that I can never control the pedals, change the gears and steer at the same time. My last instructor suggested to try an automatic. I am fully aware that I will always be limited to driving an auto and other issues such as costs etc but I am prepared to go ahead with this decision. It's really a case of trying a last resource or giving up learning altogether.
I would love to hear from people who have made the switch whilst learning and passed their test. How did you find it? did you feel more confident on the roads? how many lessons did you take before sitting the test? My theory certificate expires end of May and I'm hoping to sit my test end of April. Is this realistic? Would doing a semi intensive course help? Thanks in advance
Welcome to the site SammyD, it's all a matter of what makes you feel more comfortable really. I have driven both over the years, and prefer a manual gear box, but like. I said, it's what you want that's important.If you are having problems with manual gear changing, then an auto is the car for you, especially if it builds your confidence in driving, good luck.
I learned on a manual with no synchromesh on the first of it's three gears, and drove manual cars and trucks for many years. When I bought an automatic I was immediately hooked. Some people say they feel less in control, but for me it was the opposite. Both hands on the wheel when cornering or negotiating a complicated situation; easier in traffic with none of that holding it on the clutch; No problem with a hill start, even with a ton of caravan on the back.
There are some different skills to learn with an auto box. Reversing is very different for a start. All I can say is that you should try it and see how much better you get on.
My wife also learned on a manual, but when I came home one day with an auto and persuaded her to try it, she never wanted to go back to changing gear again.
I've never driven an automatic myself but I understand they're much more relaxing to drive if your main consideration is just a car to get you from A to B. In fact the majority of people probably don't really care either way as far as having the extra control a manual gives you; we just go for them first because 'that's what you do'. My own driving instructor, who in addition to learner drivers taught advanced drivers and was a civilian police instructor and was something of a petrol head in terms of his personal interests, used a manual as his work car (the car I learned in) but used an automatic when 'off duty' as he said he found there was less to think about and you could just focus on the journey, particularly after a long day teaching people to use a manual!
One point to make about instructors: I obviously don't know who you went with but it came out a few years ago that many of the 'instructors' employed by larger firms are actually only part way through their ADI training. I'm not certain on the exact way the law works but as I understand it, as long as there's a fully qualified instructor in a position of authority over the trainees in the company then they're legally allowed to teach - even though they may not be up to standard! The best way to avoid that is probably an independent instructor, as he/she will be the only person in their company and so will have to be fully qualified (assuming they're a legitimate instructor).
These days, as far as I know, all police cars are automatics.
Well I never knew that, I'm sure I saw them using a manual gear stick, when I was watching that TV program about the traffic police?