Safe Driving Info


How to Drive an Automatic Car- Step by Step Process

How to Drive an Automatic Car

Now, let’s look into the practical side: how to drive an automatic car ?

It’s inevitable the changes happen around us, especially in the field of science and technology.

When it comes to the mechanical engineering field, we can witness how automobiles have evolved over the years. The main difference which we can see is the disappearance of the manual cars from usage.

 With the emergence of the latest technology, at present, the usage of the automatic car has risen gradually. So, what’s the reason for this? Why manual cars which our parents fondly used are disappearing from the world?

If you ever had the chance to drive both an automatic car and a manual car, you might know what’s the reason behind the fast-growing usage of an automatic car.

The one and the only reason is; efficiency.

The gear system in an automatic car is way simpler than in a manual car. And, anyone can handle these cars without much trouble. Because of that, automatic cars are becoming the norm in the world.

Another main difference between an automatic car and a manual car is the gearbox. If you have used a manual car, then you perfectly know that it’s us who have to change the gear. But, in an automatic car, the gear changes automatically, and we don’t have to pay attention to changing the gear.

Automatic cars don’t have the clutch or the gear stick like in the manual cars because of the auto gear system. When we drive a manual car, we have to step on the clutch to select the gear we need. In contrast, an automatic will select the gear without our interference. The selection of the gear depends on the load on the engine and the speed you drive. If you drive your car at high speed, the gear will be automatically changed to a higher one if you drive at a slower speed, the gear will fall lower.

Now, let’s look into the practical side: how to drive an automatic car?

First, let’s focus on the gear system because it’s the most fundamental part of knowing how to drive an automatic car.

The gear system of an automatic car comes as;

P – Park

R – Reverse

N – Neutral

D – Drive (1,2,3,4 gears full functionality)

3- 3rd gear

2 – 2nd gear

1 – 1St gear (or L in some cars)

How to Park

Let’s say that you stop your car at a place, and you must go out to run some errands. That’s where you use P in your vehicle. ‘Park’ means you have locked your car, and you can’t move the car when it’s in the park mode. So, when you temporarily stop your vehicle, hoping to drive again, you have to use the handbrake along with the ‘Park.’


This is the gear you have to use when you want to reverse the vehicle. To reverse your car, first, step on the brake paddle, and change the mode into R (Reverse). What’s impressive in reversing in an automatic car is, you don’t have to use the accelerator to do the reversing at slow speed. But, you can use the accelerator pedal to increase the speed of reversing.  Thanks to the in-built creep function, the vehicle moves without us getting involved. You just have to handle the steering wheel simply. Once you are finished reversing, select the Park mode and use the handbrake.


This means, no power is sent from the engine or any part of the vehicle to the wheels. So, it’s more like the rest mode. But keep in mind, you can’t drive the vehicle when it’s in neutral gear.


This is the crucial function of learning how to drive an automatic car. D or Drive mode will move your vehicle forward. Just simply press the brake pedal and change the gear to D and release the handbrake. Your car will start to move slowly.

Using the acceleration pedal, you can change the speed of the vehicle. For example, you want to overtake another driver. What you have to is to press on the accelerator until you pass the other driver and then slowly release the accelerator to slow down the vehicle.  While you accelerate, the gears will be automatically adjusted to the speed.

1st  (L) 2nd, 3rd gears

You might ask, this is an automatic car, after all. Why do we need a manual gear system?

Keep in mind, not every automatic car has a manual gear system.

Well, the reason is that there come instances where you have to choose the manual gear. For example, when you drive down on a steep hill or a snow road, the speed of the vehicle is relatively high. So, the gear system automatically will select a high gear to support the speed. In situations like these, you need to take control of the vehicle. So, the sole purpose of having manual gear to reassure your safety.

Let’s say that you have to stop the vehicle for a very short period; all you have to do is to press the brake pedal until you start to move the vehicle again. There’s no need to change the move to P (Parking) or N (Neutral).

 If you plan on keeping your car stop for a while, change the gear to P (Parking) without stepping on the brake pedal.

Some features in an automatic car differ from one to another. In some vehicles, there are ‘Snow’ and ‘Winter settings. These gears will help you if your car is stuck on mud or wet grass.

So far, we have discussed the basics of how to drive an automatic car. Now, let’s talk more about how to drive an automatic car.

We all know that the roads we drive are not smooth and straight all the time. So, knowing what to do in different road conditions is crucial in learning how to drive an automatic car.

Earlier, we discussed the gear setting as Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.

Now let’s see how we can control our automobile in different road conditions.


To have a smooth ride on a downhill, you can select a locked gear position, either 1,2, or 3. So, you can drive the vehicle at an average speed, and selecting a low gear will stop the gearbox from choosing a high gear.

Hill Start

Let’s assume that you are starting to drive on a hill. Most of the automatic cars come with the creep function. So, your vehicle won’t go backward at once.

What you must do to get your car going is, simply release the handbrake. Your vehicle will slightly move backward, but you don’t need to worry, thanks to the creep function. Then give pressure to the accelerator, and you can drive the car without much effort.

Taking Corners and Bends

To take the bends safely, you need to slow down the vehicle before taking the bend. This will change the gear to a low level. don’t speed or your vehicle will skid.

Knowing how to drive an automatic car doesn’t merely mean sitting on the driver’s seat and controlling the steering wheel. It’s more than that. You have to learn everything about your automatic car because trust me one day it will come in handy.

Now, let’s get some ideas on different types of gearboxes.

  1. Automated manual gearbox: These types of gearboxes are not common at present. Yet, this gearbox can be seen in some cheaper cars. Even though the gears act normally, the setting selects the gear automatically.
  • Traditional automatic gearbox: The gas consumption is higher compared to manuals. The ‘torque-converter does the task of the clutch, and cars like Range Rover has this type of gearbox.
  • Dual-clutch: This gear type is like the conventional automatic gearbox, yet there are two clutches instead of the torque-converter. This gearbox is built-in sports cars and provides the facility for changing the gears quickly.
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT):  CVT is common in hybrid vehicles. This gear is reliable and makes your ride smooth. But, the sound changes according to the speed, which can make you uncomfortable. 

So, that’s it. It would be better if you read the manual guide to get a better understanding of how to drive an automatic car. And make sure that you always change your automatic gear oil between 18,000-30,000 miles (30,000-50,000 kilometers), you can refer your vehicle manual or consult your nearest automotive adviser to get the most accurate mileage for your vehicle. But keep in your mind, knowing all the theoretical parts won’t make you a good driver. You need to keep on practicing and using the knowledge you gained from this article to develop your driving skills.

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