Learning to drive an automatic car is much easier as compare to a car with manual transmission. Still, if you are trying to acquire a driving license, it makes sense to keep some basic things in mind which would make learning to drive an easy affair. We have prepared a list of few such important things.
1. Know the controls & get comfortable
To be able to sit comfortably in the driver seat is important. You may need to move the seat / forward or backward or adjust the seat height to get a good driving position.
It’s also important that you adjust the rear-view mirrors before driving. This should help and provide all-around visibility. Ensure that you can reach the steering wheel and holding it properly.
Make sure that you have optimum angle for back rest inclination and the headrest is in place. Stalks besides the steering wheel operate wipers, headlight and turn indicators, if you are not familiar, how they operate, refer to the service manual.
2. Know the modes on the Gear Lever
Most automatic gear levers will have the modes ‘P, ‘R’, ‘D’ & ‘N’. Where ‘P’ means Park, D stands for Drive, R for Reverse and N is for Neutral.
A Shift-lock button on the gear lever is present on the stick to lock the mode is required to be pressed every time you need to change the mode.
In addition to these modes, an ‘S’ mode (in case of Jazz) or an ‘L’ mode (in case of Baleno) is also present which facilitates enthusiastic driving and better acceleration.
You can use it while driving down hills and up hills to keep the engine is power band and have more control. Also, if you are towing something heavy, it’s better to keep the car in these modes to prevent cycling through gears and prevent engine strain.
3. Getting ready and driving the car
Manoeuvring an automatic car is fairly easy considering that there are only two pedals – brake and accelerator. The accelerator is on the right while brake on the middle. Since there’s no clutch, you do not risk stalling the engine.
To start the engine, you need to have the car in the “Park mode. To get the car moving, you would need to take the car out of “Park” mode and put it in “Drive”.
In addition to using the shift-lock button, make sure that all this while your foot is on the brake pedal too. This would prevent inadvertent movement.
4. Situation – Stopping, Hilly areas & Parking
Cars equipped with Creep functionality will start moving when you remove the foot off the brake pedal, you may not need to press the accelerator depending on the slope gradient. For the ones which do not have this functionality, you would need to press accelerator pedal to get going. On a slope, creep becomes a boon for cars that do not have ‘Hill assist’ feature.
While stopping the car is pretty straight forward and you can do it while still in the Drive mode without necessarily changing the mode to “Neutral”. You would need to keep the foot on the brake pedal if the car is equipped with creep function to prevent it from moving. To park the car, use “P” and also apply hand brake.
5. Observe Traffic rules
Before you start driving on the road, make yourself aware of all the traffic rules and regulations. Observe speed limits and stick to them and remember that it’s safe to drive in lane with good amount of space between your car and car ahead of you. Avoid overtaking and use turn indicators whenever necessary.
Having a good idea about what’s around you and being vigilant at all times is one of the best way to avoid accidents. Driving cautiously and anticipating behaviour of the traffic / drivers around you pays off.