Are manual or automatic driving lessons easier?

31 January 2024 – 4 Minute Read

driving lesson in an automatic car

Feeling unsure about which driving lessons to choose? You’re hardly alone. Let’s look at whether automatic driving lessons are easier and if they’re the right choice for you.

Before getting your driving licence, you have to take driving lessons. These teach you the skills you’ll need to drive safely and confidently.

A solid education in driving is essential, but which type of lessons are right for you? While most people get manual driving lessons, more learners are starting to take the automatic route .

There are many reasons for this, but the most common is that learning to drive an automatic car is considered easier.

Is this really the case? Let’s find out.

What’s the difference between manual and automatic cars?

To make sure you’re getting the right lessons, you need to know how manual and automatic cars vary. There are two main practical differences that drivers will notice straight away.

  • Manual cars have three pedals (accelerator, brake, and clutch), while automatic cars have two (accelerator and brake).
  • In manual cars, drivers change the gears, while in automatic cars this is done automatically (surprising, right?).

These differences change your driving experience quite a bit. But do manual drivers have a tougher time?

Is driving an automatic car easier?

Most people agree that driving an automatic car is easier.

In manual vehicles, drivers must always think about what gear they’re in, and when they need to change gear. This can be mentally tiring.

Handling the clutch and shifting gears can be awkward, too, especially for new drivers. If you live in an area with lots of stop-and-go traffic or hill starts, driving can be quite demanding.

Building your experience with a good driving instructor helps a lot with these issues. But they simply don’t exist with automatic cars.

Are automatic driving lessons easier?

If driving an automatic is easier than driving a manual car, that means learning to drive an automatic vehicle should also be easier. And it probably is.

There’s less going on

Mastering gear and clutch control is a very common challenge for inexperienced drivers. Naturally, automatic learners don’t have to think about that.

In an automatic car, the only settings you need to concern yourself with are park (P), drive (D), reverse (R), and neutral (N). Select the right position and the car does the rest.

This lets you focus on getting to grips with all the other aspects of driving.

It’s less mentally tiring

In stop-start traffic, managing gears and the clutch pedal can be physically tiring. But that isn’t the only concern.

Always having to think about the gear you’re in and whether it needs changing requires a lot of focus. That constant concentration is tough, and not something you need to worry about in automatic.

It could take less time

Everybody learns at different rates, and taking automatic driving lessons doesn’t always mean you’ll pass your driving test quicker.

Still, it is possible. Since there’s less to learn, it follows that you might need less time to get test-ready.

If you’re in a rush to get your licence – or if the cost of lessons is too much to bear – automatic driving lessons might be the best choice.

Are there any downsides to automatic driving lessons?

Learning to drive an automatic is easier – plus possibly quicker and cheaper – so why would you choose to learn how to drive manually?

Limiting your options

The main reason is that you won’t be able to drive any manual vehicles with only an automatic licence. As a result, the pool of cars available to you shrinks by a lot.

If you have a manual licence, there aren’t any restrictions. You can pick any car you want.

Automatic cars cost more

This isn’t just annoying because you have more limited options, but because automatic cars are usually a little more expensive, too.

They tend to have a higher purchase price, lower fuel efficiency, and upkeep can cost more as well.

This shouldn’t put you off, though. Trends show that automatic cars are only becoming more popular , so you’ll still have plenty of options to choose from. As automatic cars become the common choice, costs will level out, too.

Are automatic driving lessons right for you?

It all comes down to personal preference, but automatic driving lessons do make sense for a lot of people.

They’re easier than manual lessons – where clutch and gear control often causes issues – which makes learning to drive more accessible.

You might also need fewer lessons, and take less time to pass your test. This holds obvious appeal to learner drivers.

If you feel an automatic is your best option, get started by booking automatic driving lessons near you . Alternatively, consider posting an enquiry and reaching out to businesses directly, after reading more about how to learn to drive.