Driving and Automatic

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  • #154906 Reply

    After a lifetime of driving manual cars I have a test drive booked on Sunday in my first automatic. Any tips or advice on what to watch or look out for would be most appreciated.

    The test is in a Corolla Sports Touring Hybrid.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 52 total)
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  • #154907 Reply

    I’ve been in my X1 3 years and  like you it is was my first auto , I found it very easy to adjust. The new auto box’s are so much better now compared to what they used to be. I wouldn’t go back to a manual.

    The only problem I have is when I’m able to drive my landy which is a manual, it takes a a bit of time to get used to the clutch again especially when I come to a stop. But you soon get back into it.


    #154909 Reply

    And good luck with your test drive.

    #154911 Reply

    Do NOT use your left foot to brake.

    Right foot only for acceleration and braking, left your left on the foot rest or tuck it under to prevent using it.

    Actually had someone try and say a car had overly sensitive brakes when it was them left foot braking.

    Depending on which car it is you may not have the same engine braking so be prepared to use the brakes a bit more?

    #154913 Reply

    Sure you’ll get automatic into your system in a few minutes, FiestaRed. Have had auto’s for more years than I’ll admit. One BIG “must-do” in first time out is plant your left foot away from pedals. And keep it there. Otherwise you may find yourself decelerating rapidly when it hits the brake thinking you need a clutch.

    #154914 Reply

    As Rhodgie says. Left foot braking was an American thing as most had never driven a car with a clutch and cars had big wide brake pedals you could hit with either foot.  Manual car drivers have a left foot trained to press the clutch pedal with much more force than a brake pedal needs.  Hence, try it and you’ll stand the car on its nose!

    #154915 Reply

    I’m used to both, however now I’ve had to go to Auto too, Mrs Ajn have driven our manual car for 9 yrs, due to gear change, hand brake causing pain.

    Since problems for me, we now have an auto, she’s says it’s great first time driving one for her 6 monthsish in for her she says it’s got her back on the road too.

    As mentioned ….


    Hope you enjoy the test too


    #154916 Reply

    *Mrs ajn, Haven’t driven in 9 yrs that’s meant to be

    #154924 Reply

    Thanks for all the help and advice. I’ll try and make sure the left foot stays firmly stuck to the floor.

    #154930 Reply

    I know its a contentious point, but its not illegal to brake with your left foot in an Auto. I don’t commonly use my left foot to brake, I sometimes have used it in special circumstance regarding autohold and steep rises, or other uncommon events. But, I have a friend who drives an auto and they always drive two footed. Indeed you brake quicker using your left foot than the right foot. That’s because its closer to the brake pedal and you don’t have to lift off the accelerator and then move across. That’s a proven fact.

    The problems seem to arise from people developing a heavy left foot on the clutch and then lacking sensitivity to brake appropriately. But, people swiftly get over that. Or so my friend tells me.

    Anyone using an auto first time or after a long time should drive safely in what ever way suits them, just beware of riding the brake, even slightly and confusing the autobox. Keep your left foot off the brake unless braking if you use two feet.

    #154931 Reply

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Totally disagree sif for a test drive, however that’s just my opinion..</p>

    #154933 Reply

    My two footed friend would not be able to do a test drive in an auto without using two feet. Just making the point we are all, especially if disabled, likely to deviate slightly from the obvious way of accomplishing mechanical tasks.

    #154936 Reply

    Yep. Disability plays its part because driving autos came easy to me because my left leg simply doesn’t work.😁

    #154938 Reply
    Mike 700

    I have driven automatics only, by choice, for the last 15 years or so, and would not go back to manual – each to his own of course, but I prefer modern day automatic gearboxes to any manual box, and a while back, on a Volvo Forum, someone who had only driven an automatic once or twice, criticised me for praising autoboxes, by saying –
    ‘ driving an Auto is like hill walking with slippers on’


    My reply-

    Summer 1964 – My mate and I, drive to work , in his 58 Chevy corvette, AUTOMATIC.
    I’m 18 and just learning the job. We get the work gear on,
    Then we climb into the work vehicle ,It’s already gassed up, but we warm it up a little, He’s driving , so foot off the brake, push hard on the throttle to get it going,
    It is a lump-

    we climb at 41,000 ft/min, using 100% afterburner, then at flight level 20, cruising at 500 kt’s, she’s all yours Taff he says – so, o.k. I think , throttle , yup, gear stick-
    where’s the ‘ gear stick?

    Oh yeah, no gearstick ‘it’s AUTOMATIC !

    AUTOMATIC – but that’s a ‘bit like hillwalking with slippers on ‘ – yeah right?

    I get 30 mins over the water, then it’s time to head home, he puts it on the concrete, but I get to Park it up !

    Now where are those slippers, there’s a hill to climb ?

    Yup, can’t beat a good automatic, and with the new boxes you get paddle shift, and the option of manual change via the selector etc . So much choice, you’ll love it!

    good luck and enjoy.

    #154944 Reply

    I swapped to Auto this car, first one in 30 yrs of driving and its auto box can change quicker than any manual I’ve ever driven, and so easy in traffic, takes no time to get used to it

    #154946 Reply

    You shouldn’t need to use your left foot at all. Right foot off the accelerator on to the brake, it’s the same principle in a manual car. One of the first things to master is the thought that you may stall the engine when braking. Once you realise you can’t it becomes simple.
    One thing no one has mentioned is using the kick down when overtaking.
    it’s easy to demonstrate but not so to explain. Basically when you want to overtake instead of changing down gear for acceleration you press the accelerator straight to the floor and the gearbox changes down itself to give you the acceleration needed to overtake. Hope that makes sense.


    #154948 Reply

    Not sure what happens if you have no right leg/foot or have lost the use of the right leg/foot though..

    Otherwise I strongly recommend using right leg only on first test drive of an automatic transmission car..

    as said before, Don’t use left leg to brake coming from driving a manual only..

    #154949 Reply

    Automatic cars are readily adapted to left foot only driving. A separate accelerator pedal is linked to the normal one. And of course the brake pedal is in the middle.

    I imagine with drive by wire controls it’s easier than it used to be.

    #154950 Reply

    Thanks for that Ww, Thankfully not something I’ve needed to consider..

    #154951 Reply

    Not sure what happens if you have no right leg/foot or have lost the use of the right leg/foot though.. Otherwise I strongly recommend using right leg only on first test drive of an automatic transmission car.. as said before, Don’t use left leg to brake coming from driving a manual only..

    Due to my disability (polio), my right leg is very thin and pretty much useless. My left leg is much stronger/normal – and thus I have always used my left leg to drive an automatic car (I’ve only ever had an auto licence). I don’t have any adaptions – just normal pedals. I’ve never found it uncomfortable or weird because it’s what I’m used to.

    #154952 Reply

    Like Wigwam says automatics are easily adaptable to left foot driving. I use a left foot flip up and flip down accelerator due to my leg being amputated many years ago.

    #154953 Reply

    Again Thanks @solent60, that’s the perfect answer to my question.

    Great you can still get about driving 👍..

    #154954 Reply

    Again Thanks @solent60, that’s the perfect answer to my question. Great you can still get about driving 👍..

    You’re welcome ajn. I guess many of us have strange or funny quirks when it comes to driving – like johntheLeg above. It’s probably more about making the most of a bad situation or adapting. No doubt John used to drive a manual when he had both legs – whereas I’ve only ever driven with my left leg since the day I passed my test 40-odd years ago.

    The only thing I really dread though is not being able to drive a car at all. I dread that day arriving. I’ve always been heavily into cars & driving, and having to rely on buses or taxis makes me shiver with fear!

    #154965 Reply

    Well can I take this opportunity to thank the left leg braking drivers to an insight to your driving skills, for me this is the first chance I’ve had to discuss it and find out..


    #154968 Reply

    Since posting the question and reading all the answers, I’ve been sat at my PC pressing and moving my right foot over imaginary accelerator and brake pedals whilst at the same time keeping my left foot firmly pressed to the floor.

    It don’t half feel funny.

    #154971 Reply

    One other thing that I don’t think been mentioned is “Idle creep”?

    When you come to a stop at traffic lights or crawling in stop start traffic if you take your foot off the brake the car will start creeping forward so keep your foot on the brake until you want to move forward then pop over to the accelerator and away you go.

    Some cars have “auto-hold” built in with the likes of VAG cars that hold the car at stop for as long as you like and until you press the accelerator but many including the KIA I have now, the auto-hold only holds for two seconds to prevent the car rolling back when travelling in an up hill direction and gives you a very short time to get your foot off the brake and on to the gas.

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