driving an automatic

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ermintrude35 | 15:18 Sun 27th Apr 2008 | Motoring
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work have hired me a car for this coming week and it's an automatic people carrier.... I have never driven an automatic before..... so can you give me the basics? ... I relay so much on the clutch when driving and I hardly ever use my handbrake at traffic lights etc I always use clutch control... it's going to be a really long 120 mile trip....any help appreciated


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Hi, they are easy, When you start the car the gear stick will be in PARK position keeping your foot on the brake select "D" KEEPING you footbrake on, lower your hanbrake the use your accelarator and move off leaving the gear in "D" you can leave it in that mode whenever you are driving, If you are coming up to standing trafic only use your footbrake and keep your foot on the footbrake, If there is a long delay move the gear shift to "P" the car will not move either FORWARD OR BACKWOOD. In some cars i refer to my own, you cannot select a gear unless your foot is on the brake this is for safety ( Stops the car rolling) This will be hard to do always remember to keep your foot away from the brake whilst moving otherwise rear drivers think you are stopping, You will find auto driving far better than the gear change when you get used to it. But always remember to take a miniute or two before setting off what I have explained, Always remember if you have stopped KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE OTHERWISE THE CAR WILL ROLL. Good Luck.
The good news is you don't need to rely on the clutch anymore !

Basic instructions.

Put the gear lever in D for drive, Use the accelarator to go and the brake to stop.

Put the gear lever in R for reversing.

Don't touch the gear lever whilst moving.
Only use your right foot - accelerator or brake. Tuck your left foot away on the footrest provided.
...or tuck your left foot under your right leg until you get used to using only your right foot. My Dad did an emergency stop once in his first automatic and put both feet on the brake pedal (why do they make it bigger?) and nearly went through the windscreen!! If you want to 'drop a gear' to accelerate round someone, you need to kickdown. If you go hard and sharp down on the accelerator, the gearbox will 'kickdown' a gear to give you better acceleration. Try it on an open bit of road before you have to do it for real.
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...thankyou guys...oh my it all sounds very complicated....I will have a practice in the staff car park before I set off I doubt everyone will have a good laugh at me.... isn't it strange how we get set in our ways of doing things...I will let you know how I get on tomorrow....
Hi, Tell me the Colour of the Car, the Make, what time you are going out, and your area, I will set off sooner LOL. Good Luck.
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...ho ho ho TWR ... think you will be safe , travelling from north wales along the a55 to Birkinhead, nt seen the car yet but I know it's silver, and I'm setting off at 6.30 am....yawn....
Oh, No, I live on Anglesey and use the A 55.

That's one thing I forgot, the biggest mistake you can make is if you make the mistake of thinking you are in manual car and you go to put your left foot on the clutch before you change gear you will hit the brake very hard and stop dead.
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toureman thats what I will probably end up doing.... oh dear, what I might do is take my left shoe off what do you reckon? the way I'm driving it to Llangefni on Wednesday!....
The problem starts when you go back to driving your own car and forget to depress the clutch.Changing gear won't be a problem but when you stop you may forget to depress the clutch.
And whatever you do, DON'T USE YOUR LEFT FOOT FOR THE BRAKES otherwise it will get confusing when you get back into your manual car....
If the yanks can manage them, anyone can.
Don't be put off Ermintrude. Various cars have differing features but remember this. Footbrake to start car and slow/stop the car. 'D' once engaged will take you from Dover to Glasgow. 'R' is to go backwards and use handbrake as normal BUT remember that most autos will 'creep' so just be aware of that.
Now you can enjoy driving without the hassle, particularly in city centres. It is different but not difficult.
out of interest - why an automatic and not a manual have you spoken to anyone at work about this, they could be heading into serious trouble under corp manslaughter laws if you were to have an accident!
I agree with sigma - it'swhen you go back to driving with the three pedals. I have driven automatics for the last 42 years and would not know what to do now without it, although I passed my driving test with the conventional gear-box. I find automatics are safer in emergencies because you can keep both hands on the steering wheel and not having to fiddle around with gears. Only thing which has to be watched is - automatics have a kind of a "creep" and you need to learn how to control this. And if you are in a confined space and you switch the engine on from cold always cover the brake, there is an automatic choke which stops the engine from stalling.
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...just an update for everyone and a big thanks for all your comments, I don't know why I was so worried , I had a practice in the car park and I was amazed even reversed on it's own with no gas!...I did get a bit confused with the sports mode but decided just not to go there!.I also had a front seat passanger who slapped my hand everytime I went for the gearstick. lol .it is very very easy to drive, still prefer my manual though... I'm not driving that until Saurday!... so thanks for the warnings!
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mccfluff, no idea, last year when we had a lot going on we had 4 seven seaters and they were all automatics, if I wasn't confident during my practice I would not have embarked on such a long journey risking the lives of my passengers and others, but it was suprisingly easy

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