Learning to drive can be stressful, and often people want to get it over and done with as soon as possible. Manual car drivers are always talking about the benefits of driving a conventional manual car. At Go & Drive Arizona Driving School, we’re not biased, so here we look at automatics, too, so you can decide what’s right for you.

What’s The Difference Between a Manual and An Automatic?

In a manual car, you’re responsible for choosing the right gear – get it wrong, and you could stall, making every other driver behind you roll their eyes and curse. As the name suggests, an automatic car does it all for you, so you never have to worry about whether you’re in the ‘right gear’ – make sure you’re not in reverse or neutral when you don’t want to be.

Which is easier to learn?

An automatic is usually easier to learn – all you need to do is put your car in ‘D’ for ‘drive’, and off you go. Manual cars usually have up to seven gears, and you’ll need to ensure you’re in the right gear for the speed and road conditions you are driving in.

Manual drivers will tell you the ‘skill’ of driving a car depends on your ability to select the right gear and perfect your clutch control. But if you’re not bothered about that, then learning in an automatic could be for you.

Because there’s less to master in an automatic car, some learners may find it quicker to pass their test. And the quicker you pass your test, the less money you’ll spend on driving lessons. But lessons in an automatic car might be more expensive than learning to drive in a manual.

Which type of car is better?

Whether your car is manual or automatic, each has its advantages and disadvantages. What you see as a benefit will largely depend on your driving.

Why you might prefer an automatic

Constantly changing gear can be tiring if you drive somewhere with lots of traffic. It can also be distracting while looking out for pedestrians, negotiating roundabouts, paying attention to traffic lights and, of course, noting the speed limits.

Some of the newer automatic cars are also incredibly efficient, can change gear quicker than you could and will always be in the right gear for the conditions. Automatics tend to be smoother than manuals, letting you creep forward or backwards easily when parking and changing gears almost imperceptibly.

Why might you prefer a manual?

Manual cars usually feel more responsive, and you’ll have more control over the car in conditions like snow and ice. Manuals are generally less expensive to buy as they don’t use as much complicated tech as an automatic car. The expense of automatic cars can also be mirrored in the cost of repairs and servicing, though, for the same reasons.

The decider?

The one big point is that if you pass your test in a manual, you can also drive an automatic. But if you pass your test in an automatic, you’ll only be able to drive an automatic. If you decide to drive a manual, you’ll have to re-sit your driving test in a manual car later.

Plus, sometimes getting hold of an automatic can be more complicated if you need a courtesy car or hire a car. Automatics aren’t always readily available, so you should defer your service until they can find one.

Insurance for learner drivers

What you decide to learn to drive in will be down to what’s best for you, but before you get in your car, manual or automatic, you’ll need suitable insurance.