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#1 27-04-14 14:28:46

russchaplin2410
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 15-01-14
Posts: 22
Website

Learning in Automatic Cars.

Has anyone else noticed a massive boom in people who want to learn in an automatic car? Over this last few months I have turned so many people away because I only use a manual car. I hope the manual car doesn't become a thing of the past as I feel it will be taking the skill out of driving if this happens.


I'm Russ Chaplin. I teach driving in the Nottingham area. I am also a driving instructor trainer. visit me at driving lessons Nottingham

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27-04-14 14:28:46

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Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.




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#2 27-04-14 14:53:51

CantThinkofaName
Verified Member
Registered: 01-01-12
Posts: 294

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I think you're right, I have seen a 200% increase in people asking about automatic lessons. Last year I had 1 enquiry and this year I have had 2 but don't think I will be rushing to change to auto just yet :-)


DKL Driving School Belfast www.drivinglessonsbelfast.co.uk

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#3 27-04-14 15:50:42

(ROG)
Verified Member
From: LEICESTER
Registered: 23-08-10
Posts: 1,551

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Recently the EU made changes to allow those with a manual in one category to pass auto in another category and be given manual so I can see in the not too distant future that there will be no distinction between passing in auto or manual


IAM Observer
Leicester group of advanced motorists
LGV instructor from 2005 to 2008

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#4 27-04-14 15:54:27

sofasurfer
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 30-07-13
Posts: 310

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I hope so, with the new technology the DSA struggle to define the difference between auto and manual. One test, one licence.

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#5 27-04-14 18:53:22

MGM
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 24-10-11
Posts: 861

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

CantThinkofaName wrote:

I think you're right, I have seen a 200% increase in people asking about automatic lessons. Last year I had 1 enquiry and this year I have had 2 but don't think I will be rushing to change to auto just yet :-)

I don't want to depress you, but that's only a 100% increase sad .

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#6 27-04-14 18:59:21

kaf
Verified Member
From: Wiltshire
Registered: 05-08-07
Posts: 3,324
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

sofasurfer wrote:

I hope so, with the new technology the DSA struggle to define the difference between auto and manual. One test, one licence.

Count me in!

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#7 27-04-14 21:26:42

christhedrummer
Verified Member
Registered: 18-10-06
Posts: 1,163
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I was getting an enquory for auto every 2-3 weeks so invested in a cheap one - best thing I ever did having 2 cars. Never have a quiet week now.

On the whole the main demographic has always been non-British women but this last year I have noticed more men enquiring.

Learning in an auto has always had a stigma attached to it - only for people who aren't 'clever' but it is now being seen as the sensible, less stressful way of learning to drive. With the increase in traffic and speed of cars, it takes a lot of worry out of learning.

With the new technology coming in to cars I can only see the amount of autos increasing.

I don't agree it will take the skill out of driving. Gears are a very small part of the overall picture of driving. The planning and awareness are where the skill lies....

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#8 27-04-14 21:53:50

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I used to teach in manual and automatic cars and whilst I was very busy the hassle of changing over from one car to another and back again in a day was a pain. Now I am teaching auto only I find the hassle is gone and the drop in student numbers which I wanted to spend more time on the golf course has been somewhat thwarted by a couple wanting multiple lessons each week. Teaching in an automatic is less stressful on the instructor as well.


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#9 28-04-14 10:51:26

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

christhedrummer wrote:

... Learning in an auto has always had a stigma attached to it - only for people who aren't 'clever' but it is now being seen as the sensible, less stressful way of learning to drive. With the increase in traffic and speed of cars, it takes a lot of worry out of learning. ... With the new technology coming in to cars I can only see the amount of autos increasing. ... I don't agree it will take the skill out of driving. Gears are a very small part of the overall picture of driving. The planning and awareness are where the skill lies....

I totally agree Chris.

I point out to students that (down here in Oz at least) many professional drivers are given automatics so that they can concentrate more on their duties apart from driving - these range from public bus drivers, delivery truck drivers, rubbish pickup truck drivers, to fire/police/ambulance cars & heavy vehicles.

"I don't agree it will take the skill out of driving" - definitely! When I was taught to drive in 1966, "skill" was all about being a hairy-chested macho Aussie male and driving with the gearbox instead of brakes,"attacking" corners, heel & toe takeoffs, etc.

Nowdays the emphasis has shifted to driver attitudes, observational skills, awareness, planning and decision-making.
Automatic boxes are much more efficient (and reliable) than the old ones.
I still have men say to me: "I hate automatics, I don't feel like I have control of them".
"Rubbish" I say, if they are smaller & weaker than me (otherwise I shut up), "if you can't learn to be in full control of such a simple car as an automatic after one or two drives, you shouldn't really be driving ANYTHING".

I have a lot of students who change from manual to auto part way through their lessons.
This year my manual to auto ratio is roughly 65% auto, 35% manual (almost a direct swap from previous years).

You do need to explain though how automatics can BITE if mishandled and they are very hard to stop (just about un-stallable in fact), and I am very careful if I brief a student's family members before they embark on private practice (even to the point of them getting the car out of the garage/carport/driveway themselves in the early stages as the learner might not be ready to handle the extra residual creep that happens with a fast-idling cold engine, they might even be tempted to add gas without thinking, with disastrous consequences.

I tell the tale of how I saw a woman nearly drive through a shop-front wall in an automatic SUV, only a solid vertical beam stopped her entering it completely (made a mess of the beam though).
Recently a Chinese student, a nice lady, asked why I haven't got her parking yet but only driving round carparks - I told her it would be when she stopped shifting her foot to the gas pedal every time she comes off the brake, when in a carpark.
She's now parking.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#10 28-04-14 11:55:22

sofasurfer
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 30-07-13
Posts: 310

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I don't like autos, they are always in the wrong gear. However, we bought a Mini Cooper recently, great car easy to drive, just like a go-cart. It won't 'convert' me though. Manual everytime :-)

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#11 28-04-14 12:19:07

christhedrummer
Verified Member
Registered: 18-10-06
Posts: 1,163
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

sofasurfer wrote:

I don't like autos, they are always in the wrong gear. However, we bought a Mini Cooper recently, great car easy to drive, just like a go-cart. It won't 'convert' me though. Manual everytime :-)


I was like you when I first drove autos but I now love them, especially in heavy traffic. With my c3 I can drive it using the sequential function so drive it like a manual. Most autos now have the flappy paddles giving you an extra option. All good fun...

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#12 28-04-14 12:56:23

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

My Z3 2.8 is an automatic. Never been wrong footed yet. In sport mode it's a dream to drive. Same with my 308.

F1 drivers drive sequential automatic racing cars. Ask them whether they would like to return to steering with one hand at 180 mph whilst slowing down and down shifting.

But, for those that still wish to change gear manually then fine, go ahead. We all have our own preferences and I would be the last to say manual drivers are doing it wrong.


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#13 28-04-14 16:43:57

sofasurfer
Verified Member
From: Surrey
Registered: 30-07-13
Posts: 310

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Braking from 200mph towards the end of the Hangar Straight and changing down to 5th for Stowe at 120mph, no problem with a manual gear box :-)

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#14 28-04-14 18:05:54

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Agreed but think of the 1,400+ gearchanges they used to Do at Monaco and It puts it into perspective.   smile


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#15 28-04-14 20:05:36

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I think due to the increasingly poor coordination of modern man, Autos are going to be the car of the future. Thats just the way things are going, if I could fill a weeks work in an auto  I would dump the manual car.

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#16 28-04-14 20:37:22

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I'd never go back to manual now Evan. You have to experience teaching in an auto to appreciate how less stressful it is, I especially in the earlier stages.


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#17 28-04-14 20:43:37

Evan
Administrator
Registered: 27-12-09
Posts: 2,058

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Yes I can imagine Peter and I don't blame you at all, as I say I think many more will join your ranks!

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#18 28-04-14 21:08:48

johnp
Verified Member
From: Dorset
Registered: 04-03-06
Posts: 2,636

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I have offered auto for over 20 years as I believe manual is of a past era.
I only keep the manual for assessments.
I still enjoy driving manual as some autos are not as much fun as others. 
Depends on the car.


Driving is books-
1. "safe and responsible INDEPENDENCE."
2. "DISABILITY into ABILITY" 
3. "PSYCHOLOGY than SYSTEMS.
www.drivingincludesu.co.uk

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#19 28-04-14 21:56:15

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

I've rarely felt that any of the autos I've driven have been in the "wrong gear", and manual override is very easily done if you want to take more control.

In the very early days, cars were REALLY manual e.g.  hand crank to start, periodically press a button to lubricate the engine, spark advance/retard control on the steering column.
You had to manually choke before starting, and switch the wipers off at the right time because they weren't self parking.
No window demisters, you did it by hand.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#20 29-04-14 08:14:19

Coasting Mart
Verified Member
Registered: 11-06-09
Posts: 967

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

As Zipper says: Technology moves on - anyone want to campaign to keep starting handles?  I'm sure many on here are old enough to remember chokes!
Semi-autos will start to convert general motorists to the joys of auto.  Autos have got a lot more efficient and effective. The main block is probably the restricted licence you end up with.  Not a problem in the USA I believe, given the majority of cars are autos.
Come the age of electric/hydrogen/etc cars then they will all be autos anyway.  Not too many years away probably.  Given the rise of 'self-driving' cars, eventually "driving instructors" will just be involved in showing people how to programme their cars to get to the right destination!  (have you tried turning it off and on again!)
If you have children, don't recommend they become ADIs - we're in a doomed industry!   cool
I drove an auto round New Zealand for 3 months in 2001 - first time I'd driven one, no problem and was fine. I don't feel a great need to change gear manually but for business purposes it has to be manual still.


"I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car"

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#21 29-04-14 22:41:18

MAZ
Verified Member
From: N/Wales, Cheshire
Registered: 13-06-06
Posts: 838

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Coasting Mart wrote:

As Zipper says: Technology moves on - anyone want to campaign to keep starting handles?  I'm sure many on here are old enough to remember chokes!
Semi-autos will start to convert general motorists to the joys of auto.  Autos have got a lot more efficient and effective. The main block is probably the restricted licence you end up with.  Not a problem in the USA I believe, given the majority of cars are autos.
Come the age of electric/hydrogen/etc cars then they will all be autos anyway.  Not too many years away probably.  Given the rise of 'self-driving' cars, eventually "driving instructors" will just be involved in showing people how to programme their cars to get to the right destination!  (have you tried turning it off and on again!)
If you have children, don't recommend they become ADIs - we're in a doomed industry!   cool
I drove an auto round New Zealand for 3 months in 2001 - first time I'd driven one, no problem and was fine. I don't feel a great need to change gear manually but for business purposes it has to be manual still.

I don't agree we are a "doomed industry".
In my experience, 19 yrs manual and now 7 yrs auto, I would estimate that for a mainstream learner of average ability you would only be saving around 8 to 10 hours of tuition by putting an average pupil in an auto instead of manual. There is a lot more to an instructors job than teaching how to move off and change gear!!

I have never suffered from a feeling of being in the wrong gear, never felt the need to override the gear selection.
The most recent Ford Powershift vehicles are silky smooth, it's took them 2 years to get the software right but now it's brilliant with a much stronger creep than the first versions.

Although nothing will ever come close to my old beautiful 1972 3L V6 Ford Granada Auto, but I would not like its fuel bill at today's prices.

Maz.

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#22 30-04-14 05:43:24

reddragonbus
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 05-02-06
Posts: 1,653

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

Learning car control takes about 5 hours, the rest is learning road procedure, fortunately the roads are full of idiots so we have lots of work to do teaching people how to avoid getting into danger dealing with other road users.

My local councils are keeping me in business by painting daft lines on the road which are counter intuitive and confuse everyone, so I can spend years explaining how to deal with all of theses junctions and bits of road.

Our industry is customer driven, if the customer wants manual they get manual, if they want auto they get auto. We just have to supply what the customer wants.


LGV PCV Instructor DVSA ADI Fleet

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#23 30-04-14 06:10:16

AUTAX
Verified Member
Registered: 22-07-11
Posts: 1,032

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

reddragonbus wrote:

. Our industry is customer driven, if the customer wants manual they get manual, if they want auto they get auto. We just have to supply what the customer wants.


Or you target the market you want. I ran myself ragged (now I realise) swapping and changing cars during the day. Working in a rural location meant I didn't finish one lesson around the corner where I lived.

Having said that I made a very good living having both modes on offer. However, golf was suffering so the manual went. smile


Be Fear-less, go GEAR-LESS!

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#24 30-04-14 10:54:37

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,690
Website

Re: Learning in Automatic Cars.

AUTAX wrote:

... I ran myself ragged (now I realise) swapping and changing cars during the day. Working in a rural location meant I didn't finish one lesson around the corner where I lived. ...

That is the big problem with changing between 2 cars during the day.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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