All you need to know about automatic driving lessons

Are you thinking of taking automatic driving lessons?


Then you’ve probably got stuff on your mind. After all, learning how to drive in an automatic car is very different to taking manual lessons.


Is driving an automatic car better or worse? Easier than a manual or harder? Today, we’re going to pull back the curtain and help.


To make things easier, we’ve gathered up all the common queries that we get asked and listed them below. 


Either click on a question to instantly jump to the answer you’re interested in or start scrolling to get the complete lowdown on automatic driving lessons. 


Can you do driving lessons in an automatic?


Yup, automatic driving lessons are definitely a thing. 


Automatic cars don’t have any gears, so people typically go down the automatic route if they lack a bit of confidence. 


Maybe they’re unsure whether they’ll cope with a manual car or perhaps they’ve had manual lessons before which haven’t gone well.


Pupils might also choose automatic lessons if he or she knows that they’ll be doing a lot of urban driving once they’ve passed their test.


Reason being, automatic cars are a dream in traffic. 


In a manual car, tackling busy city centres and heavy congestion can be a pain, because the stop-start journeys means constantly having to change gears. 


Is automatic driving easier?


Yes and no.


Initially, learning to drive is easier in an automatic car than a manual.


When a pupil starts driving lessons, he or she will get to grips with an automatic car far quicker than they would with a manual.


In a manual car, mastering biting points, clutch control and changing gears is the biggest initial challenge for most learners. 


Automatic cars don’t have gears or a clutch, so there’s much less to master and no stalling to worry about. This usually makes learners more confident. In this sense, automatic driving is easier.


However, once a pupil can successfully maneuver a vehicle around, there are obviously other things to learn. More important things.


Some of the more vital requirements (such as the ability to spot and anticipate hazards) are developed through skill, knowledge and experience. 


It doesn’t matter what type of car you’re driving - there are no short cuts.


That’s why the idea of automatic driving lessons being generally simpler (and the automatic driving test being easier to pass) is something of a myth.


It’s easier at the start but, in the long run, most learners will ultimately require a similar amount of driving lessons to pass their test as they would in a manual.


They’ll also normally find passing their driving test in an automatic just as difficult as they would driving a manual car.


How long does it take to learn to drive an automatic car?


Many wannabe drivers want to know how many driving lessons are needed for an automatic car. 


As always, it depends on the learner’s level of skill and confidence. Plus, whether he or she has had any previous driving experience. 


However, let’s put that to one side for a moment.


According to the stats, there’s not much difference between the number of lessons required for a learner to pass their manual test to that required to pass an automatic examination.


On average, UK learners require 47 hours of automatic driving lessonsbefore they’re able to pass their test. 


The average number of lessons for manual learners is 52 hours. Now, that’s not a huge difference, so why isn’t it easier to pass an automatic driving test? 


Well, gears and a clutch are only temporary hurdles to overcome. In reality, when it comes to road safety, the mechanics don’t come into it and everything else that a learner needs to know is the same.


Your typical automatic driving lessons might not save you much time then, but fear not. There are ways to reduce the amount of lessons needed to learn how to drive an automatic car.


Just like you can with a manual car, it’s possible to take an automatic intensive driving course. We offer a few different options available depending on how much skill, knowledge and experience you have.


You can learn how to drive an automatic car in a week or choose an automatic crash course that lasts a bit longer. Either way, every option is covered.


Can you take an automatic driving test?


All learners must pass a theory and driving test in an automatic car, just like they would have to with a manual.


Remember that, to the examiner, the car you’re driving is irrelevant. The tests are identical and the national pass rate stats seem to back that up.


The average pass rate for an automatic driving test in the UK is practically the same as the rate for a manual test (about 46-47%). 


A driving test is a driving test.


You’ll be judged against the same criteria no matter what car you’re operating. It’s only the car you’re driving and how it functions that’s different. 


Should I learn automatic driving?


You won’t save much time or money with automatic driving lessons unless you take an intensive. 


And even then, it’s important to realise that if you pass an automatic driving test, you can only drive an automatic car.


(However, if you pass a manual test, you can drive both.)


If you pass in an automatic and later decide that you want to drive a manual car, you’ll have to upgrade your licence by passing a manual test.


Is this an issue? 


Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what you need.


What if you landed a job where you’re required to drive a manual car? 


Imagine you’re on holiday and you need to hire a vehicle. What if there are only manual options available?


Suppose you pass your automatic test, you’re driving around like a boss and then your car breaks down. What if your insurance company doesn’t have an automatic courtesy car available?


There are loads of potentially troublesome scenarios which might crop up. 


And you know what? 


We’re also ignoring the fact that driving a manual car is generally more fun – you wouldn’t pick out a bike with no gears as a kid, would you? Gears mean power and control.


Also, bear in mind that automatic driving lessons are more expensive and that automatic cars cost more (both in terms of initial outlay, petrol prices and maintenance).


If you’re unsure whether to learn to drive a manual or automatic car first, all things being equal you should probably opt to learning in a manual.


Changing to manual in the future will be an expensive hassle and at least this way round you get to make the choice.


Why are automatic driving lessons more expensive?


Automatic lessons are costlier.


Crucially, automatic cars are generally more expensive than their manual counterparts so insurance for learners will cost more.


They’re also more expensive to run, maintain and repair. And considering that the overall number of lessons you’re likely to need won’t be much lower, there aren’t much savings to be made.


The only exception is if you take an automatic intensive course. Then you can save time and money.


Is it worth doing automatic driving lessons?


This depends on you.


Do you think you’ll be a confident learner? How do you cope with multitasking? Are you under pressure to learn how to drive quickly?


The answers to these questions will go a long way to dictating whether automatic driving lessons will be worth it to you.


Balance up the pros and cons. 


Know in advance that bog-standard automatic driving lessons won’t save you time or money. Not enough to make this a no-brainer, anyway. 


Only a crash course would do that.


By contrast, a manual licence will give you the flexibility to drive either car and learning to drive a car with gears safely will arguably make you a better, more competent driver.


You’ve got the info, now it’s over to you


We’ve laid out all the questions and answers for you. Learning to drive is a very personal thing, so take some time to decide what’s best for your situation.


If you’re considering taking automatic driving lessons, have a good reason for doing so. And if you’re desperate to save time and cash, consider an intensive. 

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