Choice for new drivers: automatic vs. manual transmission. (2)

AT is easier to manoeuvre for novice drivers but is it also safer?

Does Automatic free-of-risks?

Driving with automatic is also not completely carefree in every respect. While a driver who knows how to use a manual gearbox can always control the vehicle as he or she wants, an automatic gearbox always runs the risk of misinterpreting the driver's wishes. It often happens that automatic vehicles drive at an unreasonably high speed at consistently low speeds or change to the next higher gear too soon if the acceleration is too slow. There is also some practice involved in teaching the automatic transmission when to downshift again, for example when overtaking. 

However, many modern automatic transmissions are now also equipped with a semi-automatic driving mode. That means, if necessary, the driver can also intervene in the gear change by moving the gear lever forward or back. It is a so-called semi-automatic.

Furthermore, parking, which is an unpopular exercise for learner drivers anyway, is more of a problem than a benefit for beginners with an automatic car. 

While in a shift truck even small distances can be mastered with relatively great precision by letting the clutch grind finely, the automatic is much coarser here, because it only knows the states of starting and stopping. 

Due to this special feature of the automatic transmission, tight parking spaces quickly become a test of patience for inexperienced users.

Should new drivers take an automatic vehicle as their first car?

Vehicles with automatic transmission are usually not affordable for novice drivers, because they are usually more expensive than models with manual transmission and the selection on the used market is comparatively small. 

Above all, the inexpensive small cars, such as Opel Corsa, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo or Peugeot 307, which are popular with new drivers, are found with automatic transmissions as rarely as the famous four-leaf clover. Automatic transmissions are often only represented in used vehicles in the middle class, but which novice driver can afford an Audi A6, an E-Class or a BMW 5 Series? Added to this are the higher fuel costs. Older vehicles from the 90s and 2000s, in particular, consume an average of at least a whole liter more per hundred kilometers with automatic transmission.

In city traffic, the additional consumption can be significantly higher. Only the most modern automatic transmissions hardly have any additional consumption compared to manual transmissions, but a new car is out of the question for most beginners. The risk of technical defects is also greater. 

While a manual transmission lasts a whole life of the car if handled with reasonable care and requires practically no maintenance, automatic transmissions are significantly more susceptible to malfunction, especially in old age, especially if the transmission oil has not been changed regularly. 

Added to this is the fact that an automatic transmission often confronts the driver with a total failure in the event of defects and the replacement can ultimately cost a few thousand euros. If you want to be the first car to buy an automatic vehicle,

Is it true that a driving license is only for automatic transmissions?

In fact, it is possible to only take the driver's license for driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. 

While a conventional class B driver's license always allows the owner to drive automatic vehicles, the automatic driver's license is only limited to cars with an automatic transmission. So it says paragraph 17, paragraph 6 of the driving license regulation. 

For learner drivers who are unable to cope with the manual control even after a long time and who also feel overwhelmed by the traffic, it can be a sensible alternative to only take the automatic driver's license first.

However, there are also some significant disadvantages. The most serious, as mentioned at the beginning, is that the automatic driver's license binds its owner to a car with an automatic transmission. 

With a purely automatic driver's license, you are quickly stuck in everyday life, for example when it comes to driving a friend's or relative's car, taking a test drive, renting a rental car, or getting a replacement vehicle when your car is in the car Workshop must. On the other hand, anyone who completes his driver's license test with a hand-shifted vehicle is completely free to drive a car with an automatic transmission.

Driving schools that offer a purely automatic driving license are also a minority in this country. Due to the low prevalence of automatic transmissions in Germany, this is no wonder, since the pure automatic driver's license is rarely in demand. As a result, there are usually no corresponding providers outside of large cities. In addition, driving hours with an automatic vehicle are often a little more expensive. The higher purchase costs for the vehicle and the higher fuel consumption, combined with the lower demand for this form of driver's license, have an impact here. However, the costs can be put into perspective if the learner should end up spending less driving hours before the test due to the easier vehicle operation.

But what can you do if you want to switch to the shift truck at some point despite an automatic driver's license? The good news: the holder of an automatic driving license is not condemned to having to go through the entire driving school again. It is sufficient to repeat the practical driving test with a hand-operated car. Now, however, the following dilemma arises: Since driving an automatic driver's license in the area of ​​road traffic regulations is automatically prohibited for holders of an automatic driving license, it is not possible to practice beforehand in road traffic. As a rule, one or two additional driving hours could still be due. If you want to save money and time, you should at least practice starting and maneuvering on private property until all the steps are correct.

A Quick Take-away: Does an automatic vehicle make sense for new drivers? 

Cars with automatic transmissions offer novice drivers an advantage that cannot be dismissed out of hand, because compared to hand-shifted vehicles, even beginners can operate them with ease. 

However, they have their own peculiarities and can sometimes frustrate the driver. The higher purchase and maintenance costs compared to a vehicle with a manual transmission must also be considered if the first car of your own is to be an automatic vehicle. In some cases, driving school only with an automatic vehicle can make sense, but will later lead to many restrictions.

In choosing a gearbox, a new driver had better consider the advantages and disadvantages of both AT and MT.