Learn to drive automatic or manual car – which is best? In the UK when you first take driving lessons, 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. Learn to drive and 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.
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. When gear changing is explained correctly, there is no obstacle to driving a manual car.
Pupils that leave their instructor because they were told they would never be able to drive, specially in a manual car. May have been misinformed. At instructor training college I was taught to teach anyone who wanted to learn to drive should be able to do so. I’ve never veered from that statement. Perseverance by both instructor and pupil can get excellent results.
Learn to Drive in a shorter time
Learn 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”.