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Should I learn to drive a manual or automatic car?
Many driving instructors offer lessons in automatic cars as well as manual. Today, most drivers on the road will have learned to drive in a manual car. They will have passed a test, having worked out the use of gears and mastering the clutch control to ease off the acceleration while shifting up or down. For most drivers, this management of the gears and the clutch pedal is a challenging skill to master. Therefore, there is always the option of learning to drive in an automatic.

What is the difference between a manual and an automatic car?

A manual car comes with a gear lever, 4, 5 or 6 gears, and a clutch pedal. While you pull off in one, you need to press down on the clutch pedal and move the lever up a gear to continue your progress. The faster you go, the higher the gear you need to select and vice versa when you are slowing yourself into a lower speed limit. Generally speaking, you need to be in second gear to maintain 20 mph and third gear to maintain 30 miles per hour.

It takes a lot of practice to move smoothly through these gears, and most find searching for the clutch's biting point difficult and can stall often.

In contrast, the automatic has a gearbox that changes the gear for you. There is no need for a clutch, so you only need to deal with the acceleration and brake pedals. Many automatic cars allow the driver some control over the selected gear, usually with paddles on the wheel, though this does not need the same skill and practice as the clutch and gear stick in a manual.

Why learn to drive in an automatic car?

Learning to drive is expensive, and you may need to pass your test quickly. Learning to drive in an automatic will likely take fewer lessons to reach the test standard. 

For some, the choice to learn in an automatic comes after challenges in mastering a manual car. It is likely that choosing to learn in an automatic is the most sensible route when hoping to pass the test and gets mobile. 

The other reason to choose to learn in an automatic is if you are driving with a disability. The opportunity to drive is only available here because the gear changes are automated.

While it does stop you from driving manual cars in the future, most hybrid and all electric cars are automatics. Therefore, there are likely to be only a handful of cars with gearboxes in a few years, anyway.

Why learn to drive in a manual car?

While we can take the purest view that learning to drive in a manual car is the only way to drive, this isn't true. There is a lot to be said for learning in a manual because it gives you a choice when you pass your test on the cars you can drive. If you pass in an automatic, you can only drive automatic cars. However, with a manual license, you can drive all cars. When it comes to hiring a vehicle or borrowing a friend's car, an automatic license will reduce your opportunities.

It is also worth noting that automatic driving lessons book up a long time in advance, as do the tests. Furthermore, automatic cars are often more expensive to buy and run, which is a significant consideration in today's world of the high cost of living.


What should I do?

There is no right answer to the choice between automatic and manual. Your personal circumstances dictate what is best for you.

However, if you speak to most drivers, they will tell you that learning to master a manual is the better option. It will give you the choice of what type of car to choose when you pass. While hybrids and electric cars will replace petrol and diesel vehicles eventually, it is a long time in the future.

Yet sometimes, necessity wins over practicality. Many people struggle with clutch control and the use of gears. Often lessons go slowly as the learner grows in confidence with this use of hands and feet in tandem. Therefore, if the difference between passing and failing is whether it is in the automatic or manual, then go for the automatic. Be sure, though, that you will never feel confident in a manual before moving over – sometimes, it takes a little time, and soon you will do it without thinking.

Looking for a driving instructor in Glasgow? Find qualified Glasgow driving instructors, both with manual & automatic cars at YooDrive. 


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