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To not want to drive the car again?

(44 Posts)
TheIronGnome Wed 30-Jul-14 14:51:39

Started a new job recently, where I can drive the car. I'm a confident driver- drive all around London happily, motorways etc, no problems. It took me a total of4 years to pass my 4th test but I'm fine now I've nailed it.

The car at work is an over 3 litre automatic, mine is a 1.6 manual. I drove a friends auto once and though I found it totally weird, I managed ok. I tried to drive the car at work today and freaked out. I was using both feet on the pedals and treating the break a bit like the clutch on a manual. In the end, I had to get my boss to drive back, as I couldn't.

I was so embarrassed, I kept apologising and trying to explain what I thought I'd done wrong. She says we'll go out in it again but I'm thinking I might ask just to leave it. I was so excited to have access to a car in this job but I really really don't feel at all safe to be in control of such a different and powerful car.

I could manage the job fine on public transport. There's only one place we'd go which would be so much easier by car. Most places would be fine on buses and trains but I don't know if I'm being stupid- automatics are meant to be so much easier and now I'm freaking out about it, I feel even worse.

Am I being silly? Do I just need to get over it?? I don't thing using my car would be very practical so I'd probably be either work car or public transport. Will my boss think me totally ridiculous to not drive it? It's not ideal when trying to make a good first impression on my first week sad

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 30-Jul-14 14:53:23

Could you book a couple of lessons on an automatic? So that you can try it with no pressure.

Flywheel Wed 30-Jul-14 14:55:17

Automatics are very very easy to drive once you get used to it. I would definitely give it another go. If you're really nervous would you consider a lesson in an automatic car? Should give you the confidence you need. You can definitely do it.

Rainicorn Wed 30-Jul-14 14:59:34

I find automatics easier than manuals. I miss my automatic car sad

I find the best way to stop using birth feet is to have your left foot pulled right back so it's practically under the seat. DH used to take his shoe off his left foot.

Longdistance Wed 30-Jul-14 15:01:39

I'd give it another go, but try and remember to NOT use your left leg whilst driving. I find automatics so easy to drive.

When you sit in it next time, relax and leave the left leg alone!

MinnesotaNice Wed 30-Jul-14 15:04:08

Stop using both feet! Like Rain said, tuck the other foot away or keep it off to the side. Autos are meant to be driven using only one foot.

Selks Wed 30-Jul-14 15:05:54

As you say, you are normally a confident driver, so really it is just a matter of getting used to how to control this new car. A lesson or two is a really good idea, then take up your boss's offer to go out with her again.
You can do this, you're just feeling anxious right now due to it being an un-nerving experience. You just need a chance to get used to driving a new type of car. Don't give up!

TheIronGnome Wed 30-Jul-14 15:05:59

I mentioned a lesson but she seemed to think that wasn't necessary. What I'd like to do is just go on my own in it around a large open empty car park or something but that's not very practical.

The brake was so sensitive and I felt completely out of control. I had to pull out from a parking space which I sort of managed but the whole thing was horrific. I've never felt so out of control and anxious in a car and I need to feel totally confident to be safe enough.

Topseyt Wed 30-Jul-14 15:08:29

I drove manuals for the best part of 30 years and my only experience of automatics was about a month driving a hire car. I thought I would never have an automatic, partly because on that occasion when I was buying a car they were too expensive. Now I have one though, and I love it.

Automatics are easy. I was nervous the first time, but you just have to remember that the car actually does the thinking for you with regard to which gear to use. Your left leg does nothing at all. Your right leg moves between the accelerator and the brake just as it does in a manual.

I have only had my automatic a few weeks. I do occasionally have to check myself as I approach corners, roundabouts, lights etc. because I can find myself starting to reach for the gear lever as if driving a manual. Less and less though.

Give it another go, and a proper chance. If I can make the switch then anybody can!! grin

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Wed 30-Jul-14 15:08:46

Book a lesson but no need to mention it. It will give you confidence. It just takes a bit of getting used to. Congrats in your new job.

Davsmum Wed 30-Jul-14 15:08:48

I think you would get used to it much quicker than you fear. Don't give up. Ask if you can practice on some quiet roads until you get used to the automatic.

TheIronGnome Wed 30-Jul-14 15:08:56

I suppose I'm also concerned I might struggle to feel ok in my own car if I start driving this one around. I'm terrified I'll have an accident!

We had the children in the back which didn't help my nerves. The dad is really precious about the car and I was just worrying.

sillybillies Wed 30-Jul-14 15:10:37

I agree with tucking one leg away - makes it much easier

Teddybeau1988 Wed 30-Jul-14 15:10:45

Can you drive somewhere quiet and not too busy til you get the hang of it. I found it hard to not use my left foot. It's really easy once your used to it. I struggle with manuals now lol

Namechangearoonie123 Wed 30-Jul-14 15:11:12

Loads of people get used to it.

I wouldn't as I like to be in control wink

If you're controlling like me you might not get used to it.

ShakeYourTailFeathers Wed 30-Jul-14 15:14:41

You just need to practice - it took me a little while to get used to it when we emigrated and I stamped on the brake a few times grin

I now have to drive a huge 5 litre pickup truck - thanks DH grin

weebarra Wed 30-Jul-14 15:17:49

We have an automatic and a manual. I use the automatic for ferrying the kids around but use DH's manual if I'm going somewhere in the evenings without them.
I still prefer the manual and was terrified of the auto when I first started driving it, but it's no problem now. It's not hard to switch between them.

externalwallinsulation Wed 30-Jul-14 15:18:38

OP, I am not a confident or particularly good driver, and whenever I have any kind of new car, I have a tendency to freak out a bit inside. Let alone switching from manual to automatic! So I do feel for you.

However, I've always found that I CAN do it, provided I get a chance to practice somewhere really quiet where no-one else is looking. Having people observe really freaks me out! I am sure you'll get the hang of it.

Topseyt Wed 30-Jul-14 15:20:08

I see you talked about getting out of a parking space. On tip I would offer when manoevring is to just let the car begin to creep forward. Do this by not applying any accelerator, just letting your foot off the brake pedal. It will slowly begin to edge forward. You won't stall it. Most automatics can creep along like that, either in tight spaces or in heavy traffic. In fact, the manufacturer of mine recommends doing this in those type of situations.

If you suddenly apply the accelerator in tight spots or when parking the car may shoot forwards (or backwards, if in reverse).

PickleSarnie Wed 30-Jul-14 15:20:24

Tuck your left leg under your seat and pretend that it's dead to you!

Roussette Wed 30-Jul-14 15:23:32

I always swore I would never get an automatic, I'm a petrol head and love gears grin.
However... I have had to use an automatic for work too and oh my god I now love it, really love it. As someone said, just stick your left leg somewhere else and let the car do the driving. I have now actually changed to an automatic at home and I can't believe I'm typing that.

However, more often than not, I now have to use a manual for work and now have to get used to that again! Automatic is so effortless and you will get used to it, it's just the transition period I think until you can drive both easily.

ViviPru Wed 30-Jul-14 15:28:20

I was in a similar situation to you OP with my first job. In fact almost identical apart from I was a more confident driver. The mega-powerful company auto still took some getting used to though, and I was nervous at first. I was too proud to admit it though and persevered until I eventually loved it, and it was great to feel I'd overcome an obstacle once I was confident with it.

Now, 13 years on I drive a 340bhp auto, it's so torque-y and powerful they don't actually make it in a manual as the physics render it impossible. Bloody adore the thing.

FraidyCat Wed 30-Jul-14 15:33:03

I don't think you need a lesson. Just keep driving it, you will get used to it very quickly.

My first experience was getting a pool car that was an automatic, and much larger than I was used to. I hadn't a clue about automatics, but it was fine, only unintentionally stepped on the clutch brake a couple of times. I was actually driving someone else, who refused to be bothered by that fact that I was nervous about driving it, just told me to stop whinging as it was easier, not sure if they mentioned never to use left foot.

LizzieVereker Wed 30-Jul-14 15:37:04

I think driving an automatic is boring, nothing to do! But when I was unused to them, I found it helpful to think of it as driving a big bumper car - unless your foot is on the brake, it moves.

GarlicJulyKit Wed 30-Jul-14 15:39:35

I suspect it's more the double engine power than the auto. An automatic car is a different kind of machine - a lesson (or an evening on YouTube) should sort you out on that front, as it's a matter of understanding what it does. Take it easy in the new car while you get used to the lion purring under the hood!

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