How to drive an automatic car


Driving an automatic car is, in principle, easier than a car with a manual transmission. However, the lack of personal habit and even the lack of a tradition in this type of driving in the area in which we live can cause us to make mistakes that will make control of the vehicle more complicated. 

How to drive an automatic car

Read the manual of your automatic car

Our first recommendation on how to drive an automatic car is that you read your vehicle ‘s instruction manual carefully, since it is common for manufacturers to specify some advice in this regard. There are several types of automatic transmission cars and yours may have some specification regarding handling that you should know in order to extend its useful life. It does not matter if you have a cheap or expensive automatic car or if it is a second-hand or new automatic car, they all usually have instructions on how to drive them and how to take care of them correctly for better performance.

How to start an automatic car

To start an automatic car, the position of the lever must be kept in “P”, some models even do not allow the ignition if it is not in this mode. To start off, step on the brake and place it in “D” to then very gently release the pedal. When making a short stop, such as a traffic light, just keep the lever in the “D” position next to the brake pedal.

How to use automatic gear changing

One of the tricks to driving an automatic car is undoubtedly knowing the gears and how the lever works. As you know, in your automatic car the gear lever has the following positions:

  • D (Drive): to start and circulate.
  • P (Parking): when you park the car.
  • R (Reverse): drive backwards.
  • N (Neutral): Neutral.

In addition, you can have other options on the lever to drive your automatic car, marked with the numbers “1”, “2” and “3”. They are intended to be used as low gears, for special situations such as a very high gradient or rapid acceleration. You don’t need them to go from position D to P, that is, to stop the car when driving normally.

keep left foot still

As you know, your automatic car does not have the clutch pedal. If you were used to driving a gear car this may be a problem for you from an ergonomic point of view, especially if you spend a lot of time driving each day. A good piece of advice that we want to give you in this practical guide to driving an automatic car is that, before starting, place your left foot on the footrest so that you adopt a comfortable and non-forced posture. Avoid at all times, carrying your foot raised as you can cause muscle pain.

You know that you only have the accelerator and brake pedals, and since it is impossible that you need to use them at the same time, use the right foot to use both, so that the left foot always remains at rest.

downshift in an automatic car

By not being able to handle the gears to control the force of the car, you can get the feeling that the car drives itself or goes away when driving an automatic car. To solve this, you should know that you can use the brake pedal so that the car automatically selects lower gears. In any case, you should be aware that an automatic transmission car is perfectly prepared to adapt to driving, so you should ignore this feeling of lack of control.

How to drive an automatic car in winter

In situations of low grip, when it comes to knowing how to drive an automatic car, you have to check if your car has a winter mode or similar. In the event that you do not have this option, the best alternative is to drive at reduced speed, always respecting traffic regulations and using special winter tires or chains when necessary.


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