How To Drive An Automatic Car | Learn to drive: Car control skills


Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular,
as they are easier and more relaxing to drive than a car with a manual gearbox. New technologies
such as hybrid or full electric cars are better suited to automatic gearboxes, so as these
types of car slowly take over manual gearboxes will eventually disappear. If you haven’t
driven an automatic car before, the lack of a clutch pedal and different gearbox controls
may cause confusion, so in this video we will show how to drive an automatic car. Before
we start, make sure you subscribe to our channel and click the bell so you are alerted when
we upload a new video. Also, we love to read your comments – so please scroll down and
let us know what you think! It sounds obvious, but an automatic car is
the same as a manual car, except for the gearbox. This means that the car will choose and control
it’s gears for you – but everything else will be the same. The driver will still have
to operate all the other car controls in exactly the same way as they would in a manual car
– so all of our other videos showing how to steer a car, brake progressively or maintain
good road position are still relevant. Just ignore anything about clutch control or gear
selection! Since we don’t have to change gears manually we can keep our hands on the
steering wheel for more of the time, which can help with car control. Also since we don’t
have to think about gear selection any more this allows us to concentrate on other aspects
of driving, such as planning ahead or nearby hazards. This car is a 2019 Suzuki Swift, and it has
a 1 litre petrol engine. The gearbox has 6 speeds and a normal gear selector mounted
in the centre. To start the engine we need to press and hold the foot brake whilst pushing
the engine start button. Other cars may use a key to start the engine, but we will usually
need to press the brake pedal. There are a few different types of automatic
gearboxes, but whatever your car has the gear selector will usually work in the same way.
There will be several letters, and sometimes a few numbers. The letters refer to the main
drive modes: P is for Park, R for Reverse, N for Neutral, and D for Drive. Any extra
letters or numbers you see are there so you can have more control over the gearbox for
certain situations, so check your car’s manual to understand when these extra settings
should be used. The park setting locks the transmission, preventing
the car from moving. It should always be selected when we park and leave the car, but we also
apply the handbrake for extra security. We select drive for normal forward driving.
We press and hold the brake pedal, and then select drive. When we release the brake the
car will slowly creep forward. This creep function is useful, as it is the perfect speed
for manoeuvring. To increase our speed we press the accelerator pedal, and the car will
change gear whenever it is needed. If we are accelerating gently the car will change up
gears earlier to maintain efficiency, but if we need to accelerate quickly and press
the accelerator harder the gearbox will change up gears much later, to give us more engine
power. Whenever we press the brake to slow down or stop, the car will change down gears
on it’s own so that we always have a suitable gear available. If we need to stop for a moment,
like at this pedestrian crossing we can leave the gearbox in drive and just keep the brake
pressed to hold the car still. When we can see that we are going to be stopped for some
time, we can select park – as the gearbox will be locked and we won’t need to keep
the brake pressed to stop the car moving forward. Hill starts in a manual car require careful
coordination of the cars controls – but in contrast hill starts in automatic cars are
really easy. We’ll stop on this hill to practice. Once we’re ready to go we push
the brake pedal to select drive, then simply lift our foot from the brake and press the
accelerator to drive away. It is impossible to stall as the gearbox controls everything
for us. If we are only stopping for a moment on a hill – perhaps when in a queue of traffic,
then we don’t even need to come out of drive. Just hold the brake to stop the car, and then
push the accelerator to drive away. The car’s creep function stops the car from rolling
back! Next let’s try a manoeuvre, so that we can
use reverse gear – parallel parking between these two Mini’s should do. To select Reverse
gear we need to press and hold the brake pedal, and then we can use the gearboxes creep function
to slowly move the car. We don’t need to press the accelerator, just release the brake
pedal to let the car move, and push the brake when we need it to stop again. Once we have
finished, we select park and release the foot brake. Most automatic cars allow us to manually control
which gear is used. On this car we can select M on the gearbox shifter, and then use small
paddles on the steering wheel to control which gear is used. Other cars may have numbers
or extra letters which offer other functions, so check your car’s manual if needed. In
certain situations having manual control over our gears can be beneficial. For example to
reduce wheel spin on slippery surfaces we can choose to pull away in second gear. Or
when driving down very steep hills we can select a lower gear than normal to increase
engine braking and reduce the need to brake. In this case we are using lower gears to allow
the engine to develop extra power to get us up to speed quickly on this dual carriageway
– but once we are driving normally it is usually
more efficient to select the normal Drive setting on the gearbox. The last setting of the gearbox to talk about
is Neutral. This gearbox mode selects no gear, and allows the car to freewheel. This might
be useful if we need to push or tow the car – but it shouldn’t be selected when driving
as it would allow the car to roll downhill on its own, reducing our control over the
car. So, remember to;
Learn how your car’s gear selector works Use the creep function to move slowly
Use any manual controls when needed Select Drive for a smooth and easy journey If you found this video interesting and would
like to be notified when we release the next one, then please click our logo to subscribe
to our channel. If you would like to help us make new videos, then please consider becoming
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