Holding a manual driving license makes it legal for you to drive and rent an automatic car. But remember manual cars involve the use of a clutch, break and accelerator yet automatic cars are clutch-less. Therefore, you need some time to adjust to this automatic transmission vehicle. The advantage of already knowing how to drive a manual car is that it makes it easier for you to operate automatic cars. Good news is that if you have a manual driving license, then it is possible for you to hire and drive an automatic car. In case you are planning to drive an automatic car for the first time, here are some quick tips to keep in mind;
Think no more of the clutch pedal
As the name states, automatic cars do most of the work by themselves. Although the car has gears, changing them is done by the car itself. Automatic cars do not have clutch pedals but are equipped with the brake on the left-hand side and accelerator on the right-hand side.
Most manual car drivers often push their left foot behind the right foot during their first days of driving an automatic car forgetting that there is no clutch on the left-hand side. Because of the location of the brake and accelerator, you can use only the right foot when driving an automatic car.
Normalize with the gearbox
When you get behind the wheels of an automatic car, it is important to master and understand the labels on the gearbox first. However much they are occasionally used, you will not regret getting to know their use. The basic gears include;
P- Park: this gear allows your wheels to remain in position and not to turn. Make sure the car is in Park when starting it and just before turning off the engine.
R- Reverse: this works like the reverse gear of manual cars. It is used for going backward/reversing.
N- Neutral: The N gear is used when you stop amidst traffic, such as at the traffic lights. It helps not to roll.
D- Drive: when you want to move the automatic car forward, shift the gearstick to D.
Be ready for the creep system
After a stop, when you slowly get your foot off the brake pedal while disengaging the handbrake, the automatic car starts moving forward if you are in Drive. And if you are in Reverse, the car will start to slowly move backwards. This is referred to as ‘creeping’. It is useful when getting in or out of a parking space and when you are stuck in traffic among other scenarios.
If you don’t want to move, make sure the gear is in Neutral before removing the foot off the brake or probably use the handbrake.
Be aware of the expectations in different conditions
Learning how to drive an automatic car is quite easier because there is no concentration on gears. Instead, the learner focuses on speed, mirrors, pedestrians and other things. If you have been used to driving a manual, here are some of the differences you should expect when you drive an automatic car;
– When you are in a traffic jam, no need to keep shifting from first and neutral time and again
– When parking, the ‘creep’ method might be of great use or sometimes unnecessary
– On highways, keeping the car in Drive is the same as keeping it in top gear
– When driving in corners and bends and you need to brake, prepare for braking in advance or else the car could go around the corner or bend faster than you intended. This is because automatic cars do not respond that fast like manual vehicles regarding braking.
Do some practice
When planning to drive an automatic for the first time, it is important to practice somewhere and be well-versed with it before getting on the road. Practice driving with your hand off the gearstick and using only the right foot.
At Mumwe Global safaris, we have a variety of automatic car for hire in Uganda available for self-drive adventures. Whether you are interested in hiring an automatic 4×4, SUV, sedan, hatchback or minivan- we will be more than happy to get you a rental car that suits your personal budget and needs. To hire a car in Uganda today, simply get in touch with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us now on +256-700135510 to speak with the reservations team.