How To Drive An Automatic Car  |  Learn to drive: Car control skills

How To Drive An Automatic Car | Learn to drive: Car control skills

Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular,
as they are easier and more relaxing to drive than a car with a manual gearbox. New technologies
such as hybrid or full electric cars are better suited to automatic gearboxes, so as these
types of car slowly take over manual gearboxes will eventually disappear. If you haven’t
driven an automatic car before, the lack of a clutch pedal and different gearbox controls
may cause confusion, so in this video we will show how to drive an automatic car. Before
we start, make sure you subscribe to our channel and click the bell so you are alerted when
we upload a new video. Also, we love to read your comments – so please scroll down and
let us know what you think! It sounds obvious, but an automatic car is
the same as a manual car, except for the gearbox. This means that the car will choose and control
it’s gears for you – but everything else will be the same. The driver will still have
to operate all the other car controls in exactly the same way as they would in a manual car
– so all of our other videos showing how to steer a car, brake progressively or maintain
good road position are still relevant. Just ignore anything about clutch control or gear
selection! Since we don’t have to change gears manually we can keep our hands on the
steering wheel for more of the time, which can help with car control. Also since we don’t
have to think about gear selection any more this allows us to concentrate on other aspects
of driving, such as planning ahead or nearby hazards. This car is a 2019 Suzuki Swift, and it has
a 1 litre petrol engine. The gearbox has 6 speeds and a normal gear selector mounted
in the centre. To start the engine we need to press and hold the foot brake whilst pushing
the engine start button. Other cars may use a key to start the engine, but we will usually
need to press the brake pedal. There are a few different types of automatic
gearboxes, but whatever your car has the gear selector will usually work in the same way.
There will be several letters, and sometimes a few numbers. The letters refer to the main
drive modes: P is for Park, R for Reverse, N for Neutral, and D for Drive. Any extra
letters or numbers you see are there so you can have more control over the gearbox for
certain situations, so check your car’s manual to understand when these extra settings
should be used. The park setting locks the transmission, preventing
the car from moving. It should always be selected when we park and leave the car, but we also
apply the handbrake for extra security. We select drive for normal forward driving.
We press and hold the brake pedal, and then select drive. When we release the brake the
car will slowly creep forward. This creep function is useful, as it is the perfect speed
for manoeuvring. To increase our speed we press the accelerator pedal, and the car will
change gear whenever it is needed. If we are accelerating gently the car will change up
gears earlier to maintain efficiency, but if we need to accelerate quickly and press
the accelerator harder the gearbox will change up gears much later, to give us more engine
power. Whenever we press the brake to slow down or stop, the car will change down gears
on it’s own so that we always have a suitable gear available. If we need to stop for a moment,
like at this pedestrian crossing we can leave the gearbox in drive and just keep the brake
pressed to hold the car still. When we can see that we are going to be stopped for some
time, we can select park – as the gearbox will be locked and we won’t need to keep
the brake pressed to stop the car moving forward. Hill starts in a manual car require careful
coordination of the cars controls – but in contrast hill starts in automatic cars are
really easy. We’ll stop on this hill to practice. Once we’re ready to go we push
the brake pedal to select drive, then simply lift our foot from the brake and press the
accelerator to drive away. It is impossible to stall as the gearbox controls everything
for us. If we are only stopping for a moment on a hill – perhaps when in a queue of traffic,
then we don’t even need to come out of drive. Just hold the brake to stop the car, and then
push the accelerator to drive away. The car’s creep function stops the car from rolling
back! Next let’s try a manoeuvre, so that we can
use reverse gear – parallel parking between these two Mini’s should do. To select Reverse
gear we need to press and hold the brake pedal, and then we can use the gearboxes creep function
to slowly move the car. We don’t need to press the accelerator, just release the brake
pedal to let the car move, and push the brake when we need it to stop again. Once we have
finished, we select park and release the foot brake. Most automatic cars allow us to manually control
which gear is used. On this car we can select M on the gearbox shifter, and then use small
paddles on the steering wheel to control which gear is used. Other cars may have numbers
or extra letters which offer other functions, so check your car’s manual if needed. In
certain situations having manual control over our gears can be beneficial. For example to
reduce wheel spin on slippery surfaces we can choose to pull away in second gear. Or
when driving down very steep hills we can select a lower gear than normal to increase
engine braking and reduce the need to brake. In this case we are using lower gears to allow
the engine to develop extra power to get us up to speed quickly on this dual carriageway
– but once we are driving normally it is usually
more efficient to select the normal Drive setting on the gearbox. The last setting of the gearbox to talk about
is Neutral. This gearbox mode selects no gear, and allows the car to freewheel. This might
be useful if we need to push or tow the car – but it shouldn’t be selected when driving
as it would allow the car to roll downhill on its own, reducing our control over the
car. So, remember to;
Learn how your car’s gear selector works Use the creep function to move slowly
Use any manual controls when needed Select Drive for a smooth and easy journey If you found this video interesting and would
like to be notified when we release the next one, then please click our logo to subscribe
to our channel. If you would like to help us make new videos, then please consider becoming
a member or patron of our channel. Thanks for watching!

About the author


  1. Thanks for watching – if you found this video interesting then please subscribe to our channel and click the bell to be notified of our next video! This video includes;
    * 0:05 Introduction
    * 1:08 Automatic Cars
    * 2:11 The Car
    * 2:40 The Gear Selector
    * 3:18 Park
    * 3:36 Drive
    * 6:02 Reverse
    * 6:46 Manual Control
    * 8:14 Neutral
    * 8:40 Summary

  2. Thanks for this video I passed my test with a manual car but I am purchasing an automatic car. So this video really helped. 🖒

  3. I didn't quite understand the use of manual controls, it seemed as though the gears still changed automatically even though it was in manual mode. Is that how it works?? I didn't see the driver make use of any pedals on the steering wheel to change gears while in manual mode so I'm a bit confused. 😅

  4. Thank you for this, I started learning in a manual and hated it, changed to an automatic and love it, can’t wait for my next lesson

  5. Passed in an automatic nov last year. Dont regret one minute for not passing in a manual xxx

  6. I have an automatic Suzuki Vitara I was NEVER taught to select P when stopping at traffic lights but to select the handbrake then allow the start stop function to kick in when handbrake is released and you pull off….is this wrong…🤔

  7. I sprained my left ankle badly a few months ago and it still hurts. So definitely considering switching to automatic in future.

    Still glad I learned manual though.

  8. If you release the handbreak before puting it into drive ( with your foot firmly on the brake) is it a fault ? This is an amazing video. Exactly what I needed

  9. It is so important to read the hand books as there seems to be an increasing number of auto gearbox variants. Electric for example vehicles rarely have a gearbox at all. Very well presented and informative as always.

  10. I'm disabled and have to drive an automatic. I find driving an auto so much easier than when I tried learning in a manual. I now love driving, which was not the case in a manual, but everyone has different wants and needs. Great video, it has taught me what the extra numbers on my gear selector mean LOL

  11. A reminder to anyone who has a Volkswagen polo, the automatic DSG box rolls back after three seconds. Be warned when selecting this car.

  12. Starting lessons in an automatic car in 2 weeks. Nervous to get started, but it looks like it will suit me perfectly for what I want! Thanks for the video 👍

  13. I passed in an automatic 3 years ago as manual was not for me .. good decision but autos can be quite costly

  14. I’m currently learning to drive in an automatic an I absolutely love it I can’t wait to pass my test so I can be free and independent

  15. I’m learning to drive in automatic car now I did try manual to start off but sometimes stalled the car and sometimes forgot to change gear stopping at give way lines and I do prefer automatic as they r much easier to drive but in a way I still wish I could drive manual coz if I passed in a manual at least I would have a choice of what to choose from plus manual is cheaper and I have wondered whether to give it another go but nah I’m sticking with automatic it’s just easier although I still find some parts of driving quite hard such as manoeuvring and roundabouts

  16. Once you go auto, you never go back, I learned and passed on a manual, then drove a manual car for a few months. I got my first car in november which was an automatic hyundai i10 and i love it so much. Its a four speed slushbox but its really fun to drive and im never going back to manual. Also lil correction, it is possible to stall some automatic cars like an automatic Lamborghini gallardo cause it has a crap automated manual that stalls sometimes.

  17. Hey guys, love the channel, thank you! I watched your videos both before, and after i passed. Was wondering if you’d be able to make a video about what to look for when buying your first car?

  18. What you said about it not being possible to stall an automatic is actually not true. If you are on an incline, whilst in D and rolling backwards, if the accelerator is depressed while rolling, the car will stall.

  19. You press the right pedal to go and left pedal to stop. Saved you watching the video 👍

  20. I've noticed in some automatics they have 1 2 3 on the gear stick? What do they mean? Is that so you can choose when to go into gears? I'm currently learning in an Manual but thinking about getting an automatic once I've passed in a manual… well hopefully 🙊

  21. I have got a manual car but i would like to know how to drive a Automatic gearbox can you help me

  22. Been driving a manual exclusively for 28 years. About to get an auto DSG, this video has certainly cleared up alot of the basics for me. Thanks for the information!

  23. Thank you so much. I will drive an automatic car for rental and was worried about stalling. So a search led me here. Your video was at the top. That’s how good you guys are. Saw one of your cars in Brighton. Keep up the good work

  24. The only people that say Manual is better than Automatic is those who have never driven an automatic before. 😂

  25. When reversing can you disable the creep function? It seemed to reverse at a high ish speed there, and if its a really tight spot you'd want to be a bit slower

  26. Automatics seems really cool, but for me they're too easy, I don't really feel it, but anyways automatics are super fun to drive. If you are a car guy, dont hate me, I am too. 😉

  27. Please also remember to come to a complete stop before shifting from Drive to Reverse or vice-versa. If you don't you can cause expensive damage to the gearbox. It is also good practice to apply the handbrake before shifting into park on a steep hill so that the weight of the car is being held by the handbrake instead of the parking pawl. If not it can be difficult to shift out of park and over time be damaging to the gearbox.

  28. I am a 10+ years manual driver, and this is the first ever video about automatic driving I am watching. Everything is so confusing to me, it's hilarious

  29. I only passed in an automatic due to my disabilities but I've noticed more and more people are driving them now. Makes a lot of sense and it makes car dealers make more smaller autos available which is good for me as I couldn't afford a big auto car.

  30. we live in a age were no one knows how to drive a car anymore. because the car's do everything for you these days.

  31. Very useful!
    So if an auto car doesn't have the option to change to manual, how does it fair when going up steep hills in stop start traffic?

  32. At 4:56 she is wrong, it is best to select neutral(N) and not park(P). Drive(D) is quicker to select from Neutral(N) because it's next to Drive(D) and their is no need to press the release button on the selector as you would need to if the car were in park(P).

  33. Just has my first experience driving an auto as a courtesy car… gotta say… I hope manual gearboxes don’t vanish, found an auto clunky and kinda annoying! Much prefer having a clutch and a manual gearbox, much more control and feedback!

  34. Some auto's will roll back on a hill if you release the handbrake then give gas a lot of them are being made that way for fuel saving purposes how would you get around that?

  35. In a moment of utter madness and confusion I decided to go back to driving an auto after years of driving manual.. Luckily I kept the manual after acquiring the auto in case I couldn't get on with it. Four months on and I am still not used to the auto. I feel like an accessory in there and it definitely doesn't seem as economical as the manual. It is however a slightly bigger engine, so hopefully that is why.. 1.9 manual TD4 up to a 2.2 Auto SD4 .. What I find very odd is the Freelander 2 Sport LE doesn't have a drivers arm rest on the left and it is auto but the GS manual model does have drivers armrest, from what I have seen.

  36. One feature of an automatic car causes more than a few people to press the gas pedel/pedle instead of the brake.
    There are numerous videos on youtube showing the consequences of this error.
    This is also the cause of many reports of cars failing to stop of slow down for the driver. These reports were in all media in the UK, and doubtless elsewhere.
    The CEO of Nissan (I think) made a deep apology. Drivers claimed that the harder they pressed the brake, the faster the car went.
    Of course they were actually pressing the gas all the time.
    Any suggestions?

  37. I passed in automatic which was so much easier as I couldn’t get away with manual as I almost crashed at least 3 times in different lesson

  38. Automatic is nice to drive
    BUT you can’t beat the clutch balancing and the changing down Manually 😉

  39. The fact that most cars still are manual is largely due to ignorance. Once you have driven an automatic in city traffic you will apreciate the advantages. Since most of us do drive mostly in town it is surprising why so many car manufacturers don't offer autoboxes.

  40. One point they didn't mention was that: once there is something wrong with the clutch, the cost of maintenance many, many times more than a manual car.

  41. I passed in an automatic I took my test in my mk3 renault clio full automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters 58 plate registered the last week of November 2008 I passed in October 2018

  42. Great video, I found this really useful as I am driving an Auto this morning for work (a hire car) and I am nervous despite driving for years, but always in a manual! Thanks for a fab upload.

  43. Best is to learn manual first and then auto because auto is a piece of cake. Sadly, I haven't learnt to drive manual because learning manual is quite expensive here in North America 🙁

  44. My question is about the creep function. It was demonstrated on a flat ground, just put in drive and let go of the brake and you'll move forward but what about if you're climing a hill, have to briefly, so you leave it in drive and press the brake. When you let go will you still move forward or will you roll back? With an automatic it's not like you can "hold it on the clutch" to make sure you don't roll back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *