Autonomous vehicles, once only preferred by elderly and disabled drivers, are now widely used.
In some situations, they can be more fuel-efficient and less expensive to maintain than a manual, in addition to being easier (and more enjoyable) to drive.
But if you’ve never operated an automatic vehicle before, it’s all too simple to step behind the wheel and be completely baffled by the lack of a clutch pedal and the variety of options offered by the shifter.
Here are some fast starting tips.
Check out our quick and simple instructions with images if you want to learn how to drive an automatic car Driving.
Tips for driving an automatic car
We recommend being familiar with the gearstick before moving on. Simply keep the brake depressed to switch between driving modes, exactly as you would in a manual. You can typically choose between “P” for the park, “R” for reverse, “N” for neutral, and “D” for the drive on automatic transmissions (drive).
Only use the park when you are at a stop and getting out of the car. As a result, the transmission “locks,” keeping it from rolling away (but you still have to apply the handbrake when parking).
When you wish to drive backward, you should select reverse since it does exactly what it says it would do: act like a reverse gear in a manual.
You should place the car in Neutral if you plan to stop long at a stop sign or in traffic. To prevent rolling, just be sure to use the handbrake or brake as well.
Normally used to move forward, the vehicle will automatically shift into second gear, then third, and so forth if you are moving quickly enough.
Additionally, automatics may be equipped with additional gearstick options, such as:
- Remain in first gear (useful when climbing hills)
- Remain in second gear (again, good for hills)
- L: Keep your speed low.
- S: Sports (provides greater acceleration)
Driving an automatic vehicle for the first time
Even while automatic gearboxes are frequently relatively simple to operate, starting and stopping might be confusing.
A car with an automatic transmission ought to have been left in the “park” when you got in.
Press the left-hand brake pedal with your right foot and start the vehicle. While keeping your foot on the brake, slide the shifter to the “D” or “R” position to drive forward or reverse (if you wish to reverse).
Most automatic cars will ‘creep’ forward if you lift your foot off the brake; this is useful for parking or in slow traffic.
If you’re on a slope or want to take off more quickly, it could need a little extra gas.
When you start going, the gearbox will choose the best gear for the circumstances and handle all the grunt work.
Once you’ve completed your trip and the vehicle has come to a halt, maintain your foot on the brake, shift the lever to “P,” switch off the ignition, and get out.
Two additional letters may be seen on the gear shifter in the photograph above.
The “S” denotes Sports Mode. This frequently results in a car’s suspension being lowered, the throttle being more sensitive, and the vehicle accelerating more quickly. To maximize speed, the automobile frequently stays in a gear longer.
With steep slopes and towing, the “L” setting will instruct the vehicle to maintain a lower gear for greater power and slower movement.
Advantages of automatic gearboxes
Although automated gearboxes have a history of requiring a lot of maintenance, they are now more dependable than they once were.
Additionally, they lessen the possibility of parts breaking. For example, in an automatic car, if the clutch control isn’t flawless, the clutch won’t wear out.
In addition to being simpler to operate, automatic versions of cars occasionally outperform their manual counterparts in terms of efficiency.
They can also be speedier; certain dual-clutch transmissions, in particular, can shift gears more quickly than a person can, cutting significant tenths of a second off the time from 0 to 62 mph.
However, automatic cars tend to cost more to purchase, which will not be helpful if you’re a new driver currently paying high insurance premiums.
different types of automatic gearbox
Although most people think of an automatic car as one that shifts gears without the driver needing to press a clutch pedal, there are really several different kinds of automatic gearboxes.
Conventional automatic gearboxes
These are more refined than conventional automatic transmissions and use a “torque-converter” to replace the clutch, although they consume more fuel than manual transmissions.
Luxury vehicles with traditional automatic transmissions—using as many as nine gears—include the Range Rover and Volvo X.
Transmissions that change gears continuously (CVT)
Due to the elimination of cogs in favor of a belt that serves as a single gear ratio, CVTs are used in hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius.
They not only increase efficiency and dependability but also smooth out the drive by eliminating gear shifting.
These gearboxes resemble traditional automatic gearboxes, except instead of a torque converter, there are two automatic clutches.
They align alternate gears, indicating that the following ratio is ready and enabling quick gear changes.
Automated manual transmissions
Although they are less common than they once were, these are still employed in less expensive vehicles like the Skoda Citigo.
These function like a typical manual transmission but include automatic gear selection and computer-operated clutches as opposed to pedals.
With an automatic license, can I operate a manual vehicle?
No. You can only drive an automatic vehicle if you have an automatic license.
Although it limits your choice of vehicles, some people find it simpler to learn and pass their test in an automatic since it eliminates many of the components of learning to drive that some people find challenging, such as clutch control and using the gears.
A manual license allows you to drive both manual and automatic cars.
Visit our learning to drive section for more details on how to get behind the wheel.
Enroll in Driving School to learn driving lessons
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