Automatic cars are certainly easier to learn how to drive than manual cars. Over the last 30 to 40 years, automatic cars have dominated the mainstream car market. People find them so much simpler to drive because you don’t need to change gears as you’re driving them. Instead, you can focus completely on the road and your steering.
If you’re someone who has only driven a manual vehicle before and you’re trying to learn how to drive an automatic, there might be a small adjustment period needed before you get comfortable with it. The adjustment period won’t take too long because the hardest part will be not having the urge to change gears or use the clutch as you’re driving. In fact, automatic cars don’t even have a clutch pedal, so it’ll feel weird down near your feet for a short while.
5 Driving Tips
To help you get started driving an automatic car, below are the top 5 tips that beginners should know first. They’ll help you avoid making needless mistakes behind the wheel.
1) Park with the Handbrake
Two things need to be done when you park an automatic vehicle. First, you need to stop the vehicle and shift the gear to “P” for Park. Then you need to lift up the handbrake by pressing the button on top of it and lifting the handle at the same time. If you’re unable to lift the handbrake, try putting a little pressure on the brake pedal with your foot and then do it.
The benefit of a handbrake is to stop the rear wheels of the vehicle from rolling backward or forward. If you park the vehicle on a hill, then you’ll definitely appreciate the handbrake even more.
2) Stop and Switch Gears
Automatics are not like manual vehicles where you can switch gears as you’re driving. The shift stick of an automatic vehicle should only be moved when the vehicle has come to a complete stop. For instance, you don’t switch the gear to park if you’re currently driving the vehicle. When you go from drive to park, you need to brake the vehicle first until it is not moving. Once it is idle, then you switch the gear to park. Otherwise, your transmission could suffer damage.
3) Minor Throttle Pressure
It is never a good idea to step hard on the accelerator pedal as soon as you switch the gear to Drive. You should gradually increase your speed by slowing applying pressure to the pedal. Stepping on the pedal too hard too fast will cause certain stationary parts in the vehicle to get damaged. This might be hard advice for some people to follow, but it’ll be worth it in the long run if you want to preserve the longevity of your vehicle.
4) No Neutral Driving
There is a common misconception that you can boost the fuel economy of an automatic vehicle by cruising in neutral gear. But if you do this, you won’t be able to accelerate fast, and your brakes will get badly damaged. Neutral gear is only reserved for when you’re pushing the car or getting it towed. You should never be driving with neutral gear on.
5) Cruise Control
Automatic vehicles are always criticized for having a weaker fuel economy than manual vehicles. But you can increase the fuel economy a little bit if you start using cruise control more often on the highway. Stepping on the accelerator causes the engine to burn more fuel. Cruise control, on the other hand, allows you to take your foot off the accelerator and maintain the same speed. That way, you are not putting as much pressure on the engine by accidentally going faster at different times.