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To cop out of manual lessons and go automatic? Any experiences or advice greatly needed

(119 Posts)
WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 09:26:59

So I've had about 16 hours of driving manually...and I absolutely hate it. Can't enjoy lessons at all because I'm constantly panicking about approaching junctions and making sure car is prepared to pull off and if I'm in the right gear..that my handbrakes up etc etc etc. then when I drive I'm a complete klutz at changing gear..think putting it into first instead of third on a busy main road.

I've just had enough of it. I just want to drive an effing car without thinking about clutch control and the biting point and all the other things that I clearly am unable to multitask. I have co-ordination problems as it is although thankfully spacial awareness and reaction timing is always good.

Anyway, can I have someone's permission to switch to automatic lessons? Already heard all the 'bad' stuff about automatics and how it's better to drive manual etc. anyone got experience in doing this? Or advice ? Anything?!

SilverBellsandCockleShells Thu 18-Apr-13 09:45:14

I drive a manual at the moment but have driven lots of automatics too and much prefer them. The only proviso is that the automatics need to be slightly bigger engines in order to cope. So if you're likely to want a little car with a small engine, automatic would not be the way to go. If you're looking at a family-sized car with a decent engine capacity, automatic would be no problem.

CuriosityCola Thu 18-Apr-13 09:48:09

It is more than achievable to pass in 3 months. Just tell your instructor your aim and getting booking lessons, theory, test. You can cancel your test up to 3 days before and not lose your money. The waiting list around here is 8 weeks at the moment. Might be worth getting your theory done ASAP. Then trying a couple of automatic lessons to see if you like it before booking test.

grin at huge bumper car. This is how I described it to my instructor.

WilsonFrickett Thu 18-Apr-13 09:48:43

There is so much BS talked about automatic cars. I have an auto and I love it. My DP's last car was a BMW 5 series <not a stealth boast honest> which went like shit off a shovel - and it was an auto too.

The only issue with autos is you may pay a little extra if you have to hire one, and there aren't as many about if you want to buy one - especially in smaller engine sizes (I have a Fiat 500 and it was the only auto for sale in Scotland at that point) but neither of these things would make me go back to a manual tbh.

BegoniaBampot Thu 18-Apr-13 09:48:48

husband and I both drive automatics and wouldn't go back to manuals. don't agree with being rubbish here and stopping and starting - that is where they are great and for hill starts and queuing.

but they are more expensive, use more petrol and you are more restricted to what is available, cost more to rent etc. Glad i learned in a manual so I can drive both if needed.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 09:48:55

Schro grin Have you booked your test? Is your aim to pass before baby is due?

I live in London so no pressing need to drive, but what with three kids if would make my life easier to be able to take them out to further places occasionally as well as do the weekly shop in one day. Dh drives manually and I don't think it would be a bad thing if I could only drive an auto. I'm used to walking everywhere and getting cabs in emergencies or everyday life.

I've had 12 hours so far learning in a manual, and I only "got" the bite yesterday

For what its worth, I would advise persevering (sp) Get someone to take you to a quiet car park and just practice making the car move in first gear using the clutch. I did this for 10 mins or so yesterday with my instructor and all of a sudden it just clicked. I managed to travel in very slow traffic, up hill, without touching the brake. Its liberating once you get it!

Have you spoken to your instructor about it? (s)he should know by now if you're capable of driving a manual. If you live anywhere near me (Lancs) then I would definitely recommend my instructor. He is the most patient man I've even met, even when I bounced off a kerb and buckled his wheel! blush

LimeFlower Thu 18-Apr-13 09:51:09

I was in the same position a while ago(minus the baby),hated driving with passion.I stuck to manual and passed the test.Changing -the arse of-- an instructor and switching from petrol to diesel car helped me a lot.Diesels are easier because to reach the biting point you just have to raise the clutch-not coordinate accelerator and clutch (which I find nearly impossible to do).Good luck whatever you decide.

Ricola Thu 18-Apr-13 09:51:44

i would say go for it. i faffed about 10 years ago trying to learn in a manual car...failed the test and that put me off for 10 years!!!!!!! so last year i took automatic lessons and loved it! i am happy to say i passed the test in october last year!! best of luck

slipshodsibyl Thu 18-Apr-13 09:53:46

Automatic is much easier, in any driving conditions, than manual. I travel a lot though and hire or borrow cars which are generally manual. If this doesn't apply to you I can't see any point in struggling with manual as it will take a lot of driving practice for manual to become second nature and if you don't keep using manual occasionally, you will lose that ease of use anyway.

I haven't booked my test as my instructor said the average lessons needed is 2 per year of your age? I have done 10 hours so far and think I would get bored after nearly 50! I would love to sit the test before the baby is born.

I live on the outskirts of Glasgow (hence all the country road lessons), a bit out of the way from anything so really need to learn.

piprabbit Thu 18-Apr-13 09:58:14

Can you not book a one-off 'taster' session in an automatic? See if you feel significantly more confident in the auto and then book more lessons on that basis?

Hugglepuff Thu 18-Apr-13 09:59:17

I passed my test years ago in a manual car but now drive an automatic. ( cos I got a bit nervous about changing gears - no idea why !) I love automatics but am sort of glad that I can drive both , just in case I ever need to drive DH's car. If you don't think you'll ever need to drive a manual , stick to automatic - Go for the one you feel most comfortable with smile

elah11 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:00:35

I agree a lot of people talk crap about automatics, they are perfectly fine to drive, I have been driving one for years grin. If thats what you prefer then go for it and dont mind any nay sayers.

gordyslovesheep Germany Thu 18-Apr-13 10:02:39

I felt like you and I did try automatics but I went back to manual quickly - I felt really unsafe in the automatics, like I was not in control.

I passed after 18mths and 3 goes - I love driving now and using my gears is second nature. If you learn automatic you will never know the joy of engine breaking grin

BlingLoving Thu 18-Apr-13 10:05:52

YABU. If you were already good at it after 16 hours, I'd be completely shocked. Learning to drive is not something you just pick up quickly and do. It takes a lot of practice before it becomes automatic. Please do not give up. There is absolutely no reason you cannot learn.

However, I would say that if you're really struggling, you should take a step back. I was not allowed by my father (who was my driving teacher) to even go onto the road until I had mastered the basics of clutch control. And I was taught how to do that in a large empty parking lot for a few weekends in a row where I only had to concentrate on gear changing and not worry about traffic, road markings etc. It's unrealistic to expect to be able to learn all the skills you need at once.

Think of it like you would learn the piano - you don't learn to play two different things with both hands in the first few lessons. YOu start with just one hand, then you add a second hand doing something really simple and then over time, you add extra complications to both hands.

sudaname Thu 18-Apr-13 10:14:27

I passed my test in a manual so am still licensed to drive one but unfortunately my first car was an automatic and eventually after many years of driving an auto l just cant cope with gears now. But it doesn't affect my quality of life and on the plus side it is one less thing to think about when driving.
Downsides are - cant drive DHs car or most other peoples cars if a situation arises where that would be useful, higher petrol consumption and automatic cars are generally more expensive than their manual counterparts.
I wish really l had kept my hand in with driving a manual tbh.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 10:15:42

Like I've said Bling, it's about making life easier for myself to be honest. I was admittedly fine in the manual but didnt like how I felt which was panicky and unsafe a lot of the time.

StanleyLambchop Thu 18-Apr-13 10:17:14

Is there any problem with availability of automatics if you had an accident and needed a courtesy car? If so, I would be careful of ruling out manuals altogether, I know everyone always thinks it won't happen to them, but even when I had a small bump my car was in the garage for 5 days, and I would have had great difficulty without a courtesy car. Insurance policies often do not guarantee like for like courtesy cars, you mainly have to accept whatever the garage can supply- and that would most probably be manual.

sudaname Thu 18-Apr-13 10:20:04

Yes good point Stanley it is more difficult to get an auto courtesy car.

<goes to book refresher lessons in manual>

BlingLoving Thu 18-Apr-13 10:25:09

That's fine Waynetta. but you asked if YABU and IMO, you are.

I find it frustrating that you never hear a man say, "oh dear, I really don't think I can drive a manual so I just won't" and I'm afraid I think women who choose to do this just reinforce the stereotype of women as bad drivers.

On a practical level, I agree with all the comments above about things like hire cars and other emergency situations. DH and I currently drive an automatic, but on our last holiday we were borrowing a car from family so it was manual. If we weren't able to drive a manual, that would have been a real problem and would have cost a fortune in hire cars.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 10:28:27

Stanley point taken, but as I stated earlier, it would never be an actual problem if I couldn't drive or hire a car for however long. School is 2 mins walk over the road, cab service and buses here are fantastic and I don't work at the moment anyway. I would just like to be able to take the kids out a bit more as well as do the food shopping in one day. I wrote this all above earlier. Family all nearby too! Maybe I'll do manual in the future just to have it, but for now easiest option is auto.

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 10:30:40

Bling loving What on earth has this got to do with women being perceived as bad drivers for choosing automatic?!

Really strange comment there. You should start another thread if you want to air opinions like that.

woozlebear Thu 18-Apr-13 10:31:06

I give you persmission. I'm absolutely terrified of learning to drive (really ditzy about understanding how roads and traffic works, so can't cope with idea of worrying about gears as well), and I plan to learn auto.

You can always get an auto license and then when you feel more experienced go for more lessons to learn manual and change your license.

I think people in the UK can be really snobby about manual driving. I don't know enough to comment about the issue of acceleration in autos, but really, what kind of driving are you going to be doing? Are you a boy racer? hmm My DF drove automatics most of his life out of sheer preference, and DH has been converted after we got given a second hand car of DF's. The only practical downside I think is that hire cars will be much more expensive, you won't be able to drive most other people's cars in an emergency (how often does that happen though?). Surely no insurer would give someone a car they couldn't legally drive, though?

WaynettaSlobsLover Thu 18-Apr-13 10:31:56

I do hope you're aware that many men as well as women opt for automatic over manual grin

Bling Lots of men drive auto too.

I would also say that the people who choose auto because they don't think they can drive manual/don't feel safe are actually smarter than those who keep driving manual when they don't feel safe doing it.

I know I would rather be in a car with someone who is confident and not terrified!

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