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Driving an Automatic Car: What You Need to Know

Compared to driving a ‘manual’ vehicle, driving an automatic is very different. Book Theory Test Today offers some top tips for driving an automatic vehicle…

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “In a recent conversation with an acquaintance, I was asked ‘do I need to take a theory test to drive an automatic car?’ The question caught me by surprise as we were originally discussing Christmas presents. However, it got me thinking, do learner drivers know how to drive automatic cars?’

In answering the theory test question, the answer is yes, you do need a theory test certificate to drive an automatic car. After all, the same road rules apply whether you’re driving a manual or automatic vehicle.

Book Theory Test Today’s Guide to Automatic Cars

If you’ve never been behind the wheel of an automatic car before it may seem a little weird at first. But don’t fret; they’re actually quite easy to drive once you get the hang of them. We reckon you’ll quickly adapt to layout of an automatic and you will enjoy the driving simplicity they offer.

The Benefits of Driving an Automatic Vehicle

Undoubtedly the biggest benefit you will identify is that you don’t have to worry about gear changes or clutch control, this is where the automatic element of an automatic vehicle comes in to play. In other words, the car does it all for you.

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “Removing the responsibility of gear control away from the driver frees them up to focus on the road with full attention. Learner drivers of manual cars in particular, tend to look down at the gear stick during their first few lessons to make sure they’re getting the car in gear.”

However, if you’re used to driving a manual car and you’re switching to an automatic, you may find it difficult to surrender control of gear changes because of your driving habits.

Some manual car drivers also claim that driving an automatic takes the ‘fun and skill’ out of driving, but automatic car drivers say it reduces the stress and is less tiresome than manual gear changes.

Need to Know Info for Driving an Automatic

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “I myself am a manual driver, but I have driven automatic vehicles. If I had to draw a comparison, I would say driving an automatic is very much like driving a go-kart and who doesn’t love go-karts, right? I say this, because like go-karts, automatic cars have two pedals – one for stopping & one for going – simple.”

But, here’s a list of automatic car quirks you need to familiarise yourself with when it comes to automatic vehicles, especially if you’re not used to the mechanics:

Engine ‘Creep’ – Be prepared because as soon as you start the engine of an automatic they have a tendency to creep forward. So, have your foot on the brake and your hands on the steering wheel. That way you have no chance of running into next door Doris’ Datsun.

High Gears on Hills – The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “An automatic car will automatically (funnily enough) select a higher gear on a steep downhill stretch, especially as your speed increases. To prevent this, so you can benefit from engine braking, you should choose one of the fixed gear setting (1, 2 or 3) using the gear stick.”

Reduced Engine Braking – Compared to their manual car counterparts, automatic cars do not offer the same level of engine braking. When removing your foot from the accelerator, you’ll be required to brake much more heavily than you anticipate.

Changing up at Corners – Automatic cars are known for going up a gear when you ease off the accelerator to tackle a bend. However, you can prevent this by decreasing your speed in plenty of time. This forces the engine to change down a gear, allowing you to accelerate through the corner.

Slippery Conditions – When faced with weather conditions such as ice & snow, you’re better to select a higher gear in order to get the car into motion. To achieve this with low acceleration, you’re required to manually choose a high gear (preferably 2 or 3) on the gear stick.

Left Foot Braking – Do not use your left foot to brake! Although there’s a temptation, avoid doing it because it will confuse you in the event of an emergency stop. The only time you may need to use your left foot for braking is when manoeuvring on a hill, as more acceleration will be required to shift the car.

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…

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