AUTOMATIC DRIVING LESSONS
Welcome to Saif Automatic Driving School
Saif Automatic Driving School is offering automatic driving lessons in and around Birmingham areas. Historically, manual cars have been much more popular with drivers than automatic cars. However, newer automatic transmission cars have much improved technology, increased sophistication and lower price tags. Because of these advances, more and more drivers are opting for the convenience of automatics more frequently than ever before.
The driver of a manual transmission car decides when to change gear and completes that action by coordinating the accelerator, clutch pedal and the gear stick. However, the driver of an automatic transmission car has little choice over gear. When in Drive (D), the speed and the demand for power from the engine, and its load will program the transmission to determine what gear is appropriate. As a rule, the faster the car is travelling, the higher the gear that’s used. On the other hand, if the speed falls, so will the selected gear.
Going Uphill will demand more power, so often, the transmission will shift down into a lower gear.
The Gear Selector
Most automatic cars will provide six settings in a gear selector, although some designs provide less. The basic selection
• P: Park. This locks the transmission and should be used only when the vehicle is completely stopped.
• R: Reverse. This should be engaged only from a complete stop and moves the vehicle in reverse.
• N: Neutral. Identical to manual transmissions, the car is in no gear whatsoever.
• D: Drive. This allows the vehicle to move forward. This setting allows the transmission to select an appropriate gear internally under normal circumstances.
• 2: Second gear. A specialty setting that is often used on steep slopes. It provides higher power for short times.
• 1: First gear. Another specialty gear that is used under heavy loads, on steep slopes under lower speeds for a short time.
The two specialty gears are provided in an automatic, so the driver who can evaluate and assess special driving conditions can maintain the proper transmission setting in a timely manner for safety and control reasons. The transmission will often attempt to change gears if speed changes, so driving slower in these gears is highly advised. Semi-automatic transmissions are gaining popularity. These specialty transmissions combine elements of both normal transmissions: It provides gear selection for the driver, but it eliminates the need for a clutch pedal. When a driver chooses a new gear and moves the gear shift, the clutch is operated automatically.
You should thoroughly read the operator’s manual when you operate an unfamiliar car, for designs of automatic and semiautomatic transmissions may differ from car to car. Fortunately, some general rules apply to all of them.
• Before starting the engine, ensure the car is in Park, and you press the brake firmly.
• To move away, keep your foot on the brake and change gears to either Reverse or Drive, depending on the desired direction of travel.
• Always use your right foot for the brake and the accelerator. Don’t use both with one foot for each pedal.
• When pausing movement, such as when waiting at a traffic light, keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal. You don’t need to change gears into Park. For safety, engage the parking brake to make sure the vehicle stays in place, but remove it before attempting to move off again.
• If you do need to accelerate quickly, to avoid a hazard, for example, press the accelerator fully to the floor momentarily. This causes the transmission to shift downward, giving your engine more power and acceleration. This action is caused a Kick-Down, which is explained below. It should never be casually engaged.
• The engine brake is reduced in an automatic than in a manual car, especially when the tick-over is set too fast.
Automatic transmission cars will creep forward or backward, depending on the selected gear besides Neutral or Park, when no pressure is placed on the accelerator or brake. Be aware of this drift. To stop it, do not change gears into Park while the vehicle is moving. Engage either the foot brake or the parking brake.
As noted above, a method of quick acceleration is available in most automatic cars. When you overtake a slow-moving vehicle or to avoid a collision are two examples of when a Kick-Down might be appropriate. The full pressure on the accelerator forces the transmission into a lower gear, which increases the available power from the engine to accelerate more quickly. It shouldn’t be sustained, however. When the manoeuvre is completed, ease the pressure on the pedal. The car will shift into an appropriate gear automatically.
Slowing and Stopping
Both slowing and bringing the vehicle to a complete stop is easier in an automatic than in a manual vehicle. Cars with automatic transmissions do not respond as quickly, though, so always allow for the added time and distance needed. To slow an automatic car, move your foot off the accelerator and onto the brake pedal. Depress it just firmly enough to slow or stop the vehicle to the desired speed or in the appropriate distance available. Because the engine brake isn’t as effective in an automatic, be prepared for the increased stopping distance and the slower engine response. The transmission will automatically shift to the correct gear as speed dictates, and you are able to concentrate more fully on what is happening around you. To ensure your vehicle stays stationary, you must press the brake pedal or engage the handbrake. In well-maintained vehicles, remember that the engine should not stall even when you stop suddenly.
Parking and Waiting
As a general rule, when waiting in traffic, apply the handbrake to ensure you remain stopped. When just pausing momentarily, just press the brake pedal firmly. When parking, always engage the handbrake to ensure the car is stationary, then select the Park gear. Engaging the stopped gear before the vehicle halts its motion can damage your transmission. Before driving again, fully press the brake pedal, disengage the parking brake, then select the D or R gear, depending on your parking situation.
Starting on Hills
When parked uphill on a steep slope, the automatic’s natural creep may not be enough to ease you forward. Some automatics have a roll-back prevention feature, but if yours does not, the following steps can help avoid that backward roll.
• While the handbrake is still engaged, gently press the accelerator slightly.
• You should feel the front of the car rise slightly.
• Release the parking brake and allow the car to creep forward before pressing harder on the accelerator.
If you parked uphill with your tyres aimed away from the kerb, remember to adjust the tyre direction before moving if needed.
To avoid excessive wear on your brakes when driving downhill, select a lower gear besides Drive. Using 3, 2 or 1 will help keep your vehicle travelling into the force of gravity and keep it slower than Drive-gear will. The Drive gear does allow the transmission to select other gears, so keeping your car in Drive can be dangerous. Because of gravity, however, don’t completely abandon use of your brake pedal. The correct specialty gear and sensible use of your brake pedal should be sufficient to maintain a safe speed downhill.
Automatic car will sense reduced pressure on the accelerator and allow the transmission to select a higher gear. Don’t let the transmission determine your turning speed: When you wish to corner an automatic vehicle, slow down before you reach your turning point. As you begin your turn, press the accelerator slightly to provide the power desired to complete the turn. When faced with a series of turns, selecting the 3 gear — or the 2 gear with slow speeds — will prevent the car from stepping up the gear selection and increasing your speed.
Driving in Snow and Ice
When driving on snow- or ice-covered roads in an automatic, you might select a higher gear but maintain a slow speed. Some cars have a special setting, If so, select it for better power-to-traction ratios. If your car does not have that special setting, use either 2 or 3 locked gear selection to improve your car’s handling when moving off or maintaining a slow speed.
Because an automatic’s natural creep on flat surfaces, you probably don’t need the accelerator when driving at slow speeds. If you travel uphill, you may need to press the accelerator gently to maintain your speed. Using your left foot for the brake in these times is acceptable, but this is the only time it is. Most automatics do allow you to manually select special gears for certain circumstances. To do this, you move the gear select lever to the gear you want, though none are usually available for gears higher than 2 or 3. Some gear selections note 1 gear as Low gear or L. These lower, locked gears are very helpful when moving downhill to prevent the transmission giving way to gravity’s acceleration and changing gears to a higher one.
When you complete your trip and stop your car, engage the parking brake before changing gears to Park to ensure your car is, indeed, fully stopped before risking damage to your transmission.
NOTE: If you take and pass your driving test in an automatic, you cannot drive a manual car legally in the UK until you retake the test and pass it in a manual transmission vehicle.