Should I Learn to Drive Automatic or Manual?


Learning to drive? This is an exciting yet daunting time and you might be wondering whether it is best to learn in a manual or automatic. More and more people are learning in automatics these days and this is understandable, but there are also benefits to learning in a manual. This post will look at the main considerations so that you can make an informed decision and begin your driving journey.

The Difference

If you go down the manual route, you will have to learn how to operate a clutch and gearbox as you will need to choose the right gear for the car’s speed. In an automatic, there is no clutch and there is a simplified gearbox (park, reverse, neutral and drive). In an automatic, the gearbox will automatically select the right gear for the speed for you.

The Focus Debate

Some motorists state that automatic is better when it comes to focusing because you have one less thing to worry about. Instead of fiddling around with gears (which can be stressful as a new driver), you only have to worry about steering, accelerating and braking and this can make it easier to focus. On the other hand, other motorists will state that manual is better for focus because having to change gears yourself will stop your mind from wandering while driving.

Manual is More Challenging

As you might expect, learning in a manual car is more challenging than in an automatic. This means that it can be more stressful and is likely to require more lessons, but you can also benefit greatly from practicing with a friend or family member supervising between lessons. Just remember that according to UK law you have to take out temporary learner driver insurance during these lessons. Although more challenging, there is a strong argument that learning in a manual will give you more confidence in the long run and help you to gain a better understanding of how the car works.

Automatic Eliminates Stalling

Driving in an automatic is easier and less stressful, especially as stalling is not an issue. Many new drivers stall when learning to drive in a manual transmission, which can also be embarrassing and knock their confidence. This is not an issue when driving an automatic and hill starts are also easier because you do not have to worry about the clutch.


It is important to note that if you pass your test in an automatic car then you will only be licensed to drive automatics. This is one of the main reasons why people learn in manual because you are not as limited, but at the same time, you must consider that electric cars are automatics and manual transmission vehicles will be gradually phased out.

Overall, there are benefits and drawbacks and it will come down to your own personal preference, but it is important to be aware of the main differences.

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