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Automatic driving lessons

The complete guide to automatic driving lesson prices, licences and passing faster.

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Pass faster with automatic driving lessons at Midrive!

Midrive learners taking automatic driving lessons pass a whole 27 hours faster than the average learner in the UK. Join us and enjoy these great benefits:

  • Get matched with a trusted local instructor within 24 hours
  • Get on the road in 7 days
  • Enjoy a 100% money back guarantee
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The automatic driving licence explained

Automatic driving lessons will prepare you to qualify with an automatic driving licence. With an automatic licence, you can drive automatic cars, but not manual ones. This is in contrast to a manual licence, which qualifies you to drive both manuals and automatics.

If you qualify with an automatic licence and later decide you’d like to switch it for a manual licence, you won’t need to reapply for a provisional licence. You can start learning to drive in a manual car with an automatic licence at any time, as long as you follow the rules for learners set by the DVSA:

  • You must be accompanied by a driver over the age of 21 who has held their full licence for three years and is qualified to drive a manual car
  • You’ll need to display your L plates
  • You must be insured on the car you’re driving

In order to switch over to a manual licence, you won’t have to take your theory test again but you will need to retake your practical driving test. The driving test in a manual car is the same as the automatic driving test. The only difference will be the car you’re driving.

Should you learn to drive in an automatic?

In a manual car, you’ll need to change gears using a gear stick and pedal, in order to control power and speed. In an automatic car, there are still gears but the car will effectively change between them for you.

Pros:

  • It’s quicker and easier to learn in an automatic car. You don’t have to figure out how to change gears and work the clutch.

  • There’s no risk of stalling. Stalling is the bane of any manual driver’s life, but if you’re wondering ‘can you stall an automatic car?’, the answer is no (unless there’s a mechanical fault). Phew!

  • Automatic cars are better on hills. Steep hills can be a scary thing for new drivers, especially if you’re starting from a stop. In an automatic, the car will take care of it for you.

  • They’re easier in heavy traffic. Just think how nice it would be not having to press the clutch and change gears every few metres. Well, it’s possible!

  • Automatics are gaining in popularity. Manual cars may still be more popular in the UK, but automatics are the cars of the future. If you want to drive an electric car, for example, it’ll be automatic!

Cons:

  • Lessons are more expensive. That’s because there are fewer automatic driving instructors around, so the demand is higher.

  • Automatic cars are more expensive. They’re not only more expensive to buy, but they’re also pricier to maintain and repair.

  • Automatics are more difficult to hire in Europe. You’ll usually have a bigger choice of manual cars than automatics if you’re looking to hire a car in Europe. That means that hiring an automatic tends to cost more.

  • They give you less control. Even though they’re meant to choose the best gear for you, they can’t anticipate upcoming situations. In a manual, you can deliberately change down a gear to get that extra boost of power.

  • Automatic driving lessons give you less flexibility in the long run. An automatic licence only qualifies you to drive automatic cars, whereas with a manual licence, you can drive both manuals and automatics.

Who should take automatic driving lessons?

Drivers who value convenience and ease would benefit from driving an automatic car, whereas drivers who want to experience a stronger physical connection to the car might find it more fun to drive a manual.

An automatic car would be especially worthwhile if you’re based in a busy city with lots of traffic, like London, Liverpool, Portsmouth or Nottingham. You wouldn’t need to press the clutch continuously in stop-start traffic.

Similarly, an automatic might be your preferred choice if you live somewhere hilly, like Bristol, Sheffield, Brighton or Leeds. Automatic cars make hill starts much easier.

On the other hand, you live somewhere quiet, or somewhere flat like Essex, Norfolk or Cambridgeshire, then ease might not be such an important factor. In that case, you might prioritise cost and opt for a manual car.

It’s also worth thinking about whether you’d like to hire a car on trips abroad. Automatics are easier to hire than manuals in the US and New Zealand, whereas, in Europe, you’ll have much more choice with a manual licence.

At the end of the day, there’s no right answer - it’s all down to personal preference!

Is it cheaper to learn to drive an automatic?

On a cost per hour basis, automatic driving lesson prices tend to be higher. However, the overall cost of learning may be lower, as most people are able to pass with fewer lessons.

According to the DVSA, learners take an average of 47 hours of driving lessons before passing their driving test. But when it comes to automatic car driving lessons, our learners take an average of just 20 hours!

Bear in mind that automatic cars, repairs and insurance all tend to be more expensive than manual. In fact, if you own an automatic car, you could pay 11% more with an automatic licence than you would with a manual licence!

Automatic driving lessons near you

We offer automatic car lessons across the UK, so wherever you’re based, the chances are we’ll have a top-rated automatic instructor just around the corner.

Some of our most popular locations for automatic lessons are Birmingham, East London, Edinburgh, Manchester, North London, Peterborough, Reading, Sheffield, South East London and West London.

Enter your postcode to see automatic driving lesson prices near you.

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