Automatic cars are gradually gaining market share in Spain. Hybrid vehicles have a lot to do with this, as this technology is not compatible with conventional manual gearboxes.
This type of gearbox makes driving more comfortable, but it takes some getting used to at first.
Let’s take a look at the peculiarities of these automated gearboxes.
Positions of the automatic gear lever or knob.
In an automatic vehicle there are 4 positions marked with the following capital letters:
- Letter P: stands for Parking and is the parking position. It locks the vehicle in the same way as the parking brake would.
- Letter R: stands for Reverse and is the reverse position.
- Letter N: stands for Neutral.
- Letter D: stands for Direct, the position for driving in automatic mode.
How to start an automatic car
The first thing you notice is that there is no clutch pedal. There are only accelerator and brake pedals. Both pedals must be operated with the right foot. We will explain why later. When operating the ignition key or the start button, you should pay attention to the following details:
- The control knob or lever of the automatic transmission must be in the P or N position.
- In addition, for safety reasons, it is necessary to operate the brake pedal simultaneously.
If one of these two conditions is not met, the vehicle shall not start.
How to drive an automatic car
For an automatic vehicle to start moving, the lever must be in the D position.
To start the car, simply release the brake. The car will start to move and accelerate smoothly. There is nothing else to worry about, as the car will change gear according to the needs of the engine.
For braking, there is nothing to worry about other than tapping the brake until the car comes to a halt and holding it down until you want to start driving again.
Once parked, select position P and switch off the vehicle’s engine.
How to change gear in an automatic car
In addition to the four positions listed above, cars with automatic transmissions have an additional position with various designations. The most common are S for Sport or M for Manual.
Once the lever is in these positions, the gear is downshifted or upshifted by tapping the control. In each vehicle, the direction of the touches is different and it is necessary to consult the vehicle’s manual.
How to reverse an automatic car
Simply shift the lever to the R position. The rest of the operations are identical to those of the direct drive.
Precautions to take if you are not used to it
Unaccustomed drivers, and let’s take the case of an automatic car rental by a person whose usual vehicle is a manual one, have to keep their left foot in the designated place and not move it from there under any circumstances, as if they had no left foot at all.
This is because these drivers still have the reflex to operate the clutch, so they run the risk of touching the brake with disproportionate force and causing an accident.