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

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!


  • Advance Driving School

    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

  • bob marley

    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

  • *one guy*

    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. 😉

  • CJ Green

    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.

  • Sartheris Stormhammer

    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

  • Isobel201

    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.

  • razzkellgamer

    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.

  • Lincs Burgman

    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?

  • Redblade

    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).

  • Charlie Davies

    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!

  • Jerry Rawlings

    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?

  • Paw X Paw

    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.

  • Ivan Soup-Hales

    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?

  • Mel bolton

    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

  • Bongarnie Themangombe

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

  • Jeroen Jansen

    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.


    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.


    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

  • Eric George

    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.

  • RS RS

    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 🙁

  • Brad Marsh

    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

  • joythornz

    I have started lessons in an automatic car. I love it! I've done manual lessons in the past but it is not for me. All I wanted is the freedom to be able to travel from point A to point B in a car on my own. Keep up the good work with the videos. They are really very helpful to learner drivers like me.

  • ArmiRexx

    how to know what lane should i take when im trurning left and the road doesnt show where you should be pleaced exactly please tell me please

  • Mike Byrne

    This a great simple video, they look a much easier drive maybe not for everyone, but definitely suited to those with conditions, anxiety and bad nerves more

  • Butterfly Simmer

    I would learn in an automatic, but as manual is still popular in the UK, I thought I learn in manual so I can have the choice.

  • Chico Khan

    As a taxi driver I've always driven a manual for 30 years my fellow taxi driver all have auto and say you don't know what you are missing comfort relaxing I'm gonna try it see if they are right

  • Kieran Lochran

    My girlfriend is doing driving lessons at the moment, and she did well with a manual at first, but some stuff she had trouble with. Since her instructor allowed her to try an automatic car, she's been having an easier time with her lessons. 🙂

  • jamie clarkson

    Is it a bad thing to never learn to drive a manual being autistic I don’t think I could handle it whereas with a automatic I would be a lot more confident but at first I am going to be a nervous driver when I first get in a car but once I get used to it I will not be so bad and I do worry about my anxieties with lorries . I really want an understanding driving instructor who will reassure me and tell me it’s ok to be nervous any tips on how to get confident whilst driving and not being nervous ?

  • Steve Shrimpton

    I still havent been brave enough to try driving an automatic before. I just worry my feet will be getting confused as I'm so used to changing manually! My left foot will be twitching😂. Nice to see my home town Bury St Edmunds on YouTube btw!

  • Project X Gaming

    Srsly. Why does he use handbrake on automatic gearbox on flat surface to stop the car???
    The UK system is so broken with those handbrake usage…

  • Nathan Barraclough

    Picking up an automatic next week and got a 140 mile drive back. Never drove an automatic so this video is a blessing! I'm confident now.

  • N E N E A N N

    been driving a automatic car for 2 years goin 3 and never driven a manual car before i couldn't imagine driving manual car it'll be too stressful for me so auto is much better for me 👍

  • praveen kumar

    Is it a good practice to use neutral (with brake) in the signals? Will it cause any damage to transmission due to frequent changes?

  • Les Shrubb

    After 40yrs driving manual cars, I decided to buy an automatic. This video was very useful inasmuch as I was able to drive it off the forecourt without looking an idiot. Lovin’ the auto experience, wish I’d changed years ago! Thanks for a very helpful lesson.

  • William Webb

    On Friday I've my first driving lesson in an Automatic as an Automatic will slightly easier for me to drive than a Manual as I won't have to engage the clutch to change gear in an Automatic. To me passing my practical test in Automatic would be no bad thing & as would be better than nothing to have a full licence for Automatics. When I learnt to drive in a Manual 14 years ago I struggled with the gears & gave up & I've now decided relearn to drive this time without the gears. .

  • RizzleMcDizzle

    I passed my manual and after 2 years driving in London, I gave the car back, my first automatic is coming today and I cannot wait. If you love cars, get a manual. If you see a car as a way to get you from a to b, get an automatic.

  • Emma Adesz

    Before passing my test in a manual car I tried to drive my friends automatic car and it was so confusing as I kept on putting my foot on the “clutch” felt like I wasn’t in control😕

  • jonathan camp

    i passed my test 40 years ago in a automatic it was hard to find a car after wards not many about then i passed in a manual now I'm over 65 i think i need a auto again spoiler for choice now how times have changed couch control is getting to me aswell

  • Tina Webster

    Am I right in thinking an automatic car is forever in movement when turned on unless we apply the brake. Whereas a manual car is always stationary until movement is instigated by the driver. I always understood the main difference are the gears etc/clutch but if I understand right then there are two different driving styles and abilities at play. This is really confusing me. Thanks

  • J7P

    How do you go about driving an automatic in stop start traffic? you don't have to find the biting point so should you wait for the cars to move forward in front of u before releasing the brake before having to press it again to slow down? I drive an automatic and I find I follow behind drivers a bit too closely in stop start traffic and even if they move a bit I'm straight off the brake to close the gap

  • Fiona Barrett

    I always think of a Automatic car as a lazy persons car.
    I love manual have driven auto but the pull off is to slow for me🙄

  • The Man vs PC

    the next gta looks great. Seriously though the only reason i need an automatic car if i pass is because in the city more than often i let the car turn off

  • Peter Mc

    Hello There, looks like a really informative overview of Automatic Transmission, I am just changing over from Manual to Automatic. Thank you for producing this incredibly helpful and useful video as it will be certainly useful when I start learning automatic. Cheers Peter Mc 🙂

  • Tas B

    my mum just got an auto as old age is making it difficult for her to drive a manual. very interesting to see the difference, can't wait to take some automatic lessons it in with a qualified driver

  • Pete Peter

    Manual driver for 15 years. Drove automatic today for the first time because i had no other choice. Hated it. Nice video but no thanks

  • Will_King01

    say you're going down a dual carriage way in the 'Manuel' mode, how would you then change into drive? As if you press the brake the car will slow down?

Leave a Reply

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