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Is learning to drive in an automatic car cheating

Recently one of the Lendrum’s Driving School pupils – Sophie - had failed a driving test for the second time. Sophie questioned her ability and suddenly lost her confidence, worrying that she would never pass a test. When a student who has tried so hard loses confidence, it is a tough challenge to turn them around and get them to believe in themselves.

It was decided not to book another test straight away to take away the pressure and work on her confidence. We arranged another lesson and after some deep thought, I came up with an idea that I thought could help her.

When I turned up to take Sophie for her lesson with the Mini Automatic, she jumped in the car with her usual big smile and was surprised at the new car. I explained that the idea of the lesson in the Mini Automatic was to build confidence by taking away worry of gears and clutch, but not to turn her to Automatic lessons.

The lessons started by explaining the controls and that the Mini Automatic would go when you want it to and not roll back on a hill. Sophie was a little apprehensive at first but she approached the first junction superbly, so far so good, then the roundabout which would normally make Sophie a little tense, but not that day. Removing the stress of gears and the clutch allowed Sophie to get down to the real business of driving.

As the lesson went on Sophie performed at her best, without any help from me and as the lesson finished she was beaming with confidence and smiling. Sophie was amazed at how well she drove and although I never doubted her, she realised that she would work herself up over changing gear. Sophie loved the car and wanted another Automatic lesson so we did and worked on more roundabouts, hills and reversing with not one error in her driving, which once again took her confidence to the highest level I had seen.

The result was way beyond what I could imagine. After two lessons in the Mini Automatic, Sophie returned to the Mini Manual. Sophie was concerned that she would make the same mistakes, so we discussed what differences she had made in the Automatic, earlier observations, positive thoughts and believing in herself.

As Sophie pulled away, without me making any comments, she seemed to imagine she was still in the Automatic, slowed and dropped a gear, started looking and said "I can go" and from that moment her confidence blossomed and she drove with little effort or error. Sophie has become so much more confident since having a couple lessons in the mini Automatic and is looking forward to her next test.

This inspired me to try the same exercise on some other pupils who were lacking in some confidence due to varying reasons. Over the next few months Sarah, Alan and Ann tried some lessons in the Mini Automatic. Each were amazed at the ease of driving and relaxed into their driving, seeing signs, dealing with junctions and hazards without any help or worry. Each have thrived from the experience and become stronger drivers with better confidence.

There is a lot of stigma in the UK about driving an Automatic car which puts people off and a lot of peer pressure with people saying "Automatic is not real driving and you will regret it after". I have driven a manual car for 20 years and when I bought the Mini Automatic to complement Lendrum's Driving School I was amazed how lovely it was to drive.

Does Automatic stop you being a real driver? No. What makes a good driver? Good awareness, planning, control and hazard perception  control of a vehicle you won’t pass a test or be a good driver. Driving an Automatic is more pleasurable than driving a manual, unless you are driving a high performance car like a Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini and if you have not tried it, I highly recommend it! I even convinced my petrol head of a wife to drive the automatic and now I have to convince her to let me borrow the car!!!!!

Driving is about comfort and enjoyment. Feeling frightened or anxious can lead to accidents, so if you are someone who feels this way while learning, or if you are a driver, don't be afraid to try Automatic - it may be the way to help you enjoy driving more. Why not read our Automatic v Manual blog to discover more

From this exercise it has inspired Lendrum Driving School to let all pupils experience the luxury of the Mini Automatic and to remove the stigma attached to Automatic driving.

 

If you would like to try our beautiful Mini Automatic contact us on the Enquiry form and we will be happy to give you an experience you won’t regret or forget.

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Manual or Automatic Lessons, which one should I decide upon ?

Below we will discuss and list the Advantages and disadvantages of driving both of the above. There is a perception and stigma with Automatic driving, however whether driving manual or automatic, driving is driving and still requires the same amount of skills, the only difference being Manual you have gears and a clutch, where an Automatic you have a Accelerator and Brake and the car decides which appropriate gear for you.

If you qualify in a Manual car you can drive a Automatic also, whereas in an Automatic you can only drive an automatic. Lets face it in most other countries outside the UK, the majority of drivers have Automatic vehicles.

 

Advantage of an Automatic vehicle:

It is proven that learning to drive an Automatic vehicle is much easier than a Manual vehicle as you only have to think Go or Slow and the gearing is done by the car, this will also lead to a move smooth drive.

If you need to learn quickly due to a job or just want to get on the road, automatic is the way forwards, as is proven takes in some cases half the time and therefore half the cost than learning in a manual vehicle. Remember if you pass in an Automatic, you can always come back and do Manual another time in the future, however most people do not as they feel very comfortable in the Automatic vehicles, as less stress.

The general control of the car is easier to handle with more time with the hands on the steering wheel.

Are Automatic Driving Lessons more expensive

In most cases as with most companies due to passing in shorter time and also fuel use is a little higher, most driving schools charge more, however at Lendrums we do not believe in taking more money so our lessons are the same price regardless, therefore making us one of the cheaper companies for Automatic lessons.

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Advantage of a Manual car

If you decide to drive a manual, it is true that to purchase a manual vehicle is cheaper to purchase after you pass your test. An automatic vehicle is more complex when it is built and therefore is slightly more expensive.

If your looking for speed and control from the vehicle engine then Manual is the best choice as you can drop gears for more power and grip. Also in wintery conditions Manual vehicles are better as you can select a lower gear giving less power to the wheels therefore giving more grip, whereas an Automatic vehicle is more likely to slide, unless you have winter tyres. This is especially a consideration if you live in an area subject to wintery conditions.

How does fuel compare ?

On average Manual vehicles use less fuel, this is not always the case however with vehicles being more efficient it is not as noticeable as it would have been 10 years ago, as most vehicles are now fitted with Cruise Control and Start/Stop technology or dual fuel cells.

If your driving a Diesel you will get more miles for your money than a Petrol.

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CONCLUSION:

In conclusion which should you choose ? it is very much your choice and what you want or need. Ask yourself a simple question How much do you want to spend on lessons, howl long do you want to learn for ? how quickly do you want a licence ? these will help you choose.

 

A stigma has always been attached to Automatic saying “If you drive a Automatic its not real”, that’s not true its what is best for YOU and nobody else. If in doubt find a driving school like Lendrums who have both available and try them both out, then make your choice, that way you cant go wrong.

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Hazard Perception Test:

As from Monday 12th January 2015 the Hazard part of the Theory Test is being changed. The current clips that have been part of the test, have shown not to be very clear and not as upto date with new technology.

The NEW Hazard Clips will be very similar, with new clearer images on the screen with updated vehicles, roads and surroundings, which will help the user to identify Hazards better.

Over 1000 people have been trialled with the new clips, and the study has shown a clearer understanding of what is expected and better for identifying the hazards.

The DVSA have changed the imagery to CGI clips (Computer Generated Images). The DVSA could introduce different situations which could incorporate vulnerable road users i.e children, horse riders, cyclists and motorcyclists - without any risk.

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Welcome to the Lendrum's Driving School Blog, here we will post useful information, hints and tips you may find useful regarding learning and taking your driving test.