Learn how to drive with automatic gears

Best Practice When Driving With Automatic Gears

13 November 2015, 10:05

If you have never driven a car that uses automatic gears before, then it is best for you to perhaps begin to understand how you should really drive the car before you get started.

By doing so, it will mean that you get the best out of the vehicle, but there is more to it than simply sticking it in drive and leaving the car to do the rest.

Instead, as the driver, you still have a number of responsibilities that will mean you get a truly wonderful driving experience.

1. Watch out for engine creep

The first thing to mention is actually a warning. An automatic car is going to have something called engine creep and this basically means that it will creep forward as soon as you start the engine. To stop this, make sure that you have your foot on the brake. However, a number of more modern automatics will not even start until it realises that you do indeed have your foot on the brake in the first place.

2. Be prepared to brake more heavily

Put your foot down on the brakes

This is a rather peculiar practice that you will need to get used to quite quickly in that automatic cars require the driver to brake more heavily. The reason for this is because they do not offer the same level of engine braking when you take your foot off the accelerator, so you are going to have to work a bit harder with the brake pedal in order to get the same effect.

3. Watch for high gears on hills

Whenever you find yourself on a steep downwards slope, an automatic car will immediately look to select a higher gear as your speed increases accordingly. However, this takes away more of the engine braking, so if you want to benefit from this, then it is advisable to look at selecting a fixed gear setting if you have this option.

4. Watch for corners

Be careful with your cornering technique

Typically, an automatic has the ability to change up a gear when you come off the accelerator for going into a corner. However, this is not the best driving practice, so you are best to come off the accelerator earlier than normal as this will encourage it to change down a gear before then allowing you to accelerate out of the bend in a more normal fashion.

5. Dealing with slippery conditions

Slippery road is always a hazard

In the UK, there will be a number of occasions in the winter where you have to contend with some slippery conditions and when this happens and you have an automatic, then you should still look at pulling away using a higher gear. This is the exact same as you would do in a manual car, so use the fixed gear option and ideally use either two or three.

6. Avoid left foot braking

It may be a habit hard to change

If you have never driven an automatic before, then it could be tempting to do some left foot braking, but in all honesty this is something that you should avoid. The reason for this is simply a safety issue as it could annoy you when it comes to doing an emergency stop.

Driving an automatic is easy, but do not think that you are excused from all of the driving as that is certainly not the case. Instead, you must learn how to get the most out of the engine in order to provide you with the best possible driving experience.

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