Due to the straightforward nature of automatic driving, many people think it’s easy to drive an automatic car. Though there is admittedly less gear shifting in an automatic car versus a manual one, they both require a wealth of expertise and a healthy dose of caution to be driven safely. If you already drive an automatic, you should feel confident on the road, however, if you’re making the switch from manual to automatic things might seem a little more daunting. Regardless of your experience, there are some basic issues that you should familiarize yourself with before hopping behind the wheel. Read on to learn about some of the most common mistakes to avoid when driving an automatic car.
Though many consider the knowledge of the gears and gear shift to be rudimentary, one of the most egregious and most avoidable mistakes you can make when driving an automatic car is misremembering what the letters on your gear shift represent. It is of the utmost importance that every driver understands the park, reverse, neutral, and drive functions of their car. If you don’t understand when you should be employing each individual gear, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the situations that would require them. Having a foundational understanding of gears and gear shifts is something that should be mastered before you do any physical driving.
Footwork can imply fancy steps, but the proper footwork for driving is slightly less advanced. With only two pedals to press it can be easy to get complacent- but where you position your feet, and how hard you press down on the pedals, can heavily influence how smooth your driving will be. It’s important to position your foot in a place where it can easily touch the brakes at a moment’s notice. Additionally, you should never slam on the brakes or the gas as this is bad for the vehicle and will surprise others in your car and on the road.
Not Being Licensed
Though licensing processes are different for every country, it’s important that, no matter where you live, you have the proper license to legally drive your vehicle. Licensing usually requires some sort of written and on-the-road element, and will result in obtaining a tangible document or card that proves you are legally allowed to drive. Before attempting a licensing exam, the professionals behind https://www.l-team-driving.co.uk/ point out that it’s a good idea to prepare yourself by enrolling in reputable lessons. Remember, just because you take an automatic licensing exam doesn’t mean you’re ready or even legally able to drive a manual vehicle upon passing.
Rolling In Neutral
If you’re transitioning from a manual vehicle, you might have a tendency to reach for the gear shift far more than is needed. This can manifest in bad habits, and mistakes that will affect your driving as well as the efficiency and health of your vehicle. Something you should always avoid when on the road is sliding or drifting down hills in neutral. Not only does this result in a lack of vehicle control, but it will cut the oil supply to your car. Over time, this will result in some serious degradation. Though a hill might seem like a good opportunity to cut fuel costs, the savings will be negligible and will result in potential harm to yourself and your car in the long run.
Shifting While Moving
While some people enjoy constantly moving and adjusting things while driving, the fact of the matter is that automatic cars don’t require a lot of attendance as far as gears are concerned. If you find yourself wanting to shift gears while the car is in motion- you should probably give it a second thought. Though many manual owners find it second nature to constantly adjust their gear shift, where automatic cars are concerned, you should always aim to do less rather than more. Instead of wearing out your gearbox, use your brake! It’s there for a reason and will save your car from a lot of damage. This goes for stopping at red lights, in parking lots, and any other situation where you might be reaching to shift things into park or neutral instead of braking.
Not Warming Up the Engine
As is the case with any vehicle, there is a certain way to treat your automatic car when it has been exposed to cold or freezing conditions. In a rush to leave the house, people often make the mistake of immediately starting a car that has been sitting outside overnight. Far from beneficial to your engine, this can put great stress on the internal functions of your vehicle. Though you shouldn’t idle too long, make sure that you are giving your car at least a couple of moments to warm up. By avoiding hard driving until fuel and oil have been well distributed you will be doing a huge service to your car.
Driving on Empty
This one goes for most if not all cars – don’t drive on empty! While it might be tempting to skip the gas station in the morning, or try and finish your journey in one go, you are doing a huge disservice to your vehicle. This is a common mistake, but thankfully it’s easily avoidable. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you have at least a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle at all times. This will make for a smoother, less stressful ride, and also prevent any roadside disasters. With driving, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this applies to fueling up as well.
Though some of these mistakes might seem silly, it is often a lack of attention or care that puts drivers in risky situations. By taking the time to properly familiarize yourself with your vehicle, you will immediately eliminate a host of potential problems. From there, there are many steps you can take to ensure you are driving in a safe and effective way. Make sure you don’t succumb to bad habits and that you’ve received adequate instruction on automatic-specific driving techniques. Remember, stay alert, drive cautiously and confidently, and have fun cruising around