Learn to Drive Automatic or Manual Car – which is best

Learn to drive automatic or manual car – which is best? In the UK the majority of learner drivers are taught in a manual car (manual & automatic refer to the type of gear change mechanism). Because the majority of used cars for sale have a manual gearbox and automatic cars are more expensive to buy and maintain. Passing a driving test in an automatic car will only allow the driver to drive automatics. Passing a test in a manual car, enables the driver to drive both type of car – manual and automatic. Those are the facts! Now here are the myths.

Learn to Drive Automatic car

New drivers who are disabled or come from a country where automatic cars are predominant have a reason to learn to drive in an automatic car.

In the UK a new driver is often influenced by others – including their driving instructor into learning to drive in an automatic. I have been teaching for 41 years and never advised a new driver to swap to an automatic car, despite teaching pupils who were disabled.

Learn to drive automatic. Grow model for learner drivers
GROW Model

A professional driving instructor who suggests a new driver should learn to drive in an automatic car, because they are struggling. Is not for the benefit of the student, it’s because it’s hard work for the instructor. An instructor in this situation should find another way of helping this particular student. The instructor should consider the needs of the student first.

Pupils that leave their instructor because they were told they would never learn to drive, specially in a manual car. May have been misinformed. At instructor training college I was taught to teach anyone to drive who wanted to. I’ve never veered from that statement. Perseverance by both instructor and pupil can get excellent results.

Learn to Drive in a shorter time

Learning to drive in a shorter time with an automatic is sometimes the reason a new driver swaps from a manual car. I have come across this question often, “My friend / instructor said I would learn to drive in a shorter time. If I learned in an automatic.” My answer, “What problem are you having with the gears?” student replies “None, I was just told it would save time”.

There are no shortcuts when learning to drive. But you can shorten the time by booking an intensive driving course.
Take a look at basic manual car control
Courses for nervous learner drivers

Intensive Driving Lessons

Intensive driving lessons are they a good thing? This is a Money Supermarket website headline.
Below is a comment I wrote  on the moneysupermarket.com website.

Intensive courses the old fashioned way : First lesson on Monday test on Friday no longer work for most people. Engineers, siblings of a farmer would be the exception.
Intensive courses when used as part of an overall learning to drive programme can save a lot of money and time. Whilst producing a very safe driver at the end.
A 5 day intensive gets the process of car control into the nervous system with outstanding results. The following 5 days after a few days, or even a week off, the new driver blossoms out. The new driver is more than ready on this next 5 day course to take on traffic and challenging situations.
A test should never be booked whilst taking an intensive course. It blocks the learning process. Once things start to come together a test cancellation is then booked with extremely good results.

As you can see, I am firm believer that intensive driving courses, when used as part of an overall driver training programme are an excellent wayAre intensive driving lessons a good thing to save money and also save time. The really important added bonus though is the built in extra safety factor, over and above taking weekly lessons.

Are intensive driving lessons a good thing? Safety Observation

From a road safety viewpoint, intensive driving lessons produce a safer, more experienced driver. When a pupil makes a driving mistake. There is plenty of time to practice the correction. On weekly driving lessons it is usually left until next weeks lesson to try again. But this is often forgotten now by both instructor and pupil.

Repetition of good driving skills raises the standard of driving and produces a very safe and confident driver. 

West Midlands Casualty Reduction Scheme – Speed Cameras

Speed Awareness Course

The National Speed Awareness Course has been put in place to give drivers who are found to be in excess of the speed limit the opportunity to attend driver re-education on the effects and dangers of speeding as an alternative to a fixed penalty.

The course is only offered for low-level speeding offences detected by fixed or mobile speed cameras and drivers are only eligible if they have not attended a Speed Awareness Course anywhere in the country within the last three years. If you have been caught speeding, you will be notified if you are eligible to attend a Speed Awareness Course after completing the Notice of Intended Prosecution.

Since this is a national course, drivers can choose to take a course in any area that offers them, regardless of where the original offence occurred. Costs may vary between areas, but courses in the West Midlands currently cost £85 (subject to an annual review) and drivers who take the course will not receive three points on their licence.

The theory-based workshops last for four hours and cover:

Hazard awareness

Speeding consequences

Driving safety tips

For more information on courses within the West Midlands, to book a course, or to find directions to a course venue, please visit the TTC Group website. For information on courses in other areas, visit the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers website.

via West Midlands Casualty Reduction Scheme – Speed Cameras.

Learner Driver Fined

A learner driver whilst on her driving lesson was caught driving at 36 mph in a 30 mph speed limit zone. She had only taken 12 previous lessons and pleaded that she had not noticed her speed increase.

She was given the option to either have 3 penalty points added to her licence, or take a one day driver education course. The course would cost £110.

Her driving instructor had no part to play in the ‘eyes of the law’.

Advice to all learner drivers 

According to the law; from the very first lesson, all drivers are responsible for the safety of themselves and other road users. How many new drivers are aware of that law!

All driving instructors should mention it on the first lesson.