Learn To Drive Auto or Manual?

Should I Learn to drive manual or auto? That’s the question people are never certain on when first learning to drive. We can help you!

People often ask our instructors when the best time would be to start learning/teaching Manual. Should they start in Automatic first or jump straight into Manual? Truth is, there is no right answer that best suits you! This decision often depends on our students circumstances at home – in terms of what type of car they have available to practice in!

We often find that students who have already completed more than half their logbook in an Auto, are confident enough to start learning to drive a Manual, whereas some people are more technically minded and can pick up the gear and clutch concept quiet early.

The biggest issue we see as driving instructors is that often once a Learner has been taught to drive an Auto, they very quickly pick up bad habits!!  The most common bad habit that we see is Learners ability to accelerate too quickly and brake way too late!  This can be a difficult habit to curb once they have been driving for some time.  This can cause observation issues, as beginner drivers are less likely to process events in front of them when braking late or quickly.  It is really important for Supervising drivers to ensure that Auto (and Manual) Learners learn to understand safe and consistent braking distances; this will help them to adopt the ‘slow down – gear down’ process once getting into a Manual car.


Statistically speaking, there are less car accidents in Manual vehicles than Automatic.  This is due to the fact that as we learn to drive Manual we start to understand the appropriate speed increments for each gear, therefore learning the appropriate distances to start slowing down.  This in turn enables Manual drivers to become more aware of their environment and the consequences of being in a gear too fast for a given situation.  We spend a lot of time in the early days teaching Learners this exact process and encourage Supervisors/Parents to do the same.

Often people don’t have a Manual car at home to practice in, this is not a reason to ‘not’ learn Manual if you are going to book some lessons anyway.  Often we find that if a Learner is going to utilize the 10 triple time logbook lessons, this can be enough to teach someone to drive Manual, sometimes people who struggle to pick it up, may need a few more lessons to focus on the ‘coordination’ elements of driving a Manual such a manoeuvres.  Many Learners will pick it up within 10 driving lessons, if taught the right way.  If you only have Manual cars at home, it makes the decision easy, jump straight in and give it a go, when you don’t know any different you will simply pick it up!  The art of driving a manual car with “finesse” is where you will have the most fun. Learning to transition your speed control smoothly is really the art of driving manual. Repetition is the key to building good driving habits, Manual or Automatic!