Gransnet forums

manual to automatic car

(39 Posts)
Fennel Mon 16-Apr-18 15:38:55

As I've mentioned elsewhere we moved back from France 2 months ago. When we were there I drove every day, manual vehicles, and now we have an automatic car.
I drove here for the first time yesterday (very nervous of all the traffic) and it was ok, except my left foot seemed to want to apply the brake, instead of my right foot. So we kept coming to a sharp halt.
Has anyone else made this change, and can give advice how to get into the habit of only using right foot?

NonnaW Mon 16-Apr-18 15:43:57

I was very fearful of changing to an automatic but am managing fine. The advice I was given was to keep your left foot away to the side. My problem seems to be when pulling out at a junction - I always want to change gear from first to second!

Agus Mon 16-Apr-18 15:44:47

My car in France was manual too Fennel but on returning to Scotland I have been driving an automatic which, takes a while to become used to the very different way of driving.

It just takes time and eventually instinct takes over. Wouldn’t like to go back to manual now actually.

Luckygirl Mon 16-Apr-18 15:46:06

I have had an automatic for many years, and what a blessing it was when I broke my left foot!

The secret is to put your left foot away - either towards the seat or off to the left. My car has a little foot rest for your left foot. You will soon get used to the idea that your left foot has nothing to do.

Suki70 Mon 16-Apr-18 15:54:17

When we had our first automatic car, which was about thirty years ago, I found that taking off my left shoe helped me to adjust.

chelseababy Mon 16-Apr-18 16:02:19

As others have said just keep your left foot out of the way. I'm just getting a new (ish) car and although I passed my test in a manual have been driving an automatic for over 10 years so am sticking with the automatic. I'll have enough trouble coping with a bigger car without having gears to worry about too!

Situpstraight Mon 16-Apr-18 16:02:46

Tuck your foot back under your seat, or as near as you can get it. I hate trying to drive a manual car now, we kangaroo jump and squeal gears all the time, not a nice sound.

I not we, DH has no problems with either.

Synonymous Mon 16-Apr-18 16:10:06

Oh, the joys of an automatic - once you have learnt to put away that left foot! I would never want to go back to a manual now with all that kangaroo petrol. grin

Welshwife Mon 16-Apr-18 16:14:17

I just tucked my left foot behind my right leg - it sits there quite comfortably.

SueDonim Mon 16-Apr-18 16:16:32

I love my automatic car, the first I've ever had! I didn't find it a problem to drive at all.

I don't understand why anyone would have their left foot over the brake pedal, as you'd not do that in a manual car, it would be over the clutch.

There's a rubber footrest where the clutch would be on my car so that's where my foot goes.

Jayh Mon 16-Apr-18 16:19:43

I changed and had the same problem with my left foot. I kept it pushed hard against the floor until I got used to not needing it at all. Don’t worry, as others have said, you will soon get the hang of it. Good luck.

Greyduster Mon 16-Apr-18 16:31:59

When we bought an automatic car the seventies, DH just tucked his foot away behind his other leg and never looked back. It was the only automatic we ever had. I didn’t drive then but have driven automatics since and tried to persuade DH to get one, but he now seems to be wedded to manual gearboxes. Maybe next time!

tanith Mon 16-Apr-18 16:43:12

As the others have said just rest your left foot out of the way I used to switch between the two driving different work vehicles so haven’t found it a problem but I prefer a manual gearbox anyway.

merlotgran Mon 16-Apr-18 16:43:41

I don't get this left foot behind the right leg thing. Surely it impedes movement of the right leg? I think I'd soon get cramp.

Can people really not get used to not needing the left foot without tucking it out of the way? Just rest it where the clutch used to be or on the foot rest if there is one.

You don't need your left hand to change gear but you need it on the steering wheel. Left hand and left foot used to work together so if you're not changing gear you should soon forget about your left foot. hmm

humptydumpty Mon 16-Apr-18 16:50:40

merlot I agree; drove my DB's automatic car for a while and kept left foot on the car floor, worked for me. The only thig that took a bit of getting used to was having to allow more time to get into traffic at roundabouts etc. maybe automatics have improved since then, and would definitely choose one when my manual needs replacing.

Nanabilly Mon 16-Apr-18 16:59:48

I loved driving our automatic when we had one but I did find it a problem at first but I just let my left leg flip off to the side and quickly got used to it ....and then we got a manual again now that WAS a problem and it lasted a for a bit longer than manual to automatic.

silverlining48 Mon 16-Apr-18 17:00:16

We thought we were happy with a manual but got an automatic a few years ago. Wish we had changed over before, it’s heaven never having to do a hill start. You will get used to it quickly I am sure. If I coukd so can you. Enjoy.

Fennel Mon 16-Apr-18 17:51:28

So many people with the same problem - I'm amazed! And relieved too.
So thanks for all the advice, I'll try to persevere and keep that left foot tucked away. Or take my shoe off.

Fennel Mon 16-Apr-18 17:55:27

And BTW I was quite surprised when a well known motor insurance company agreed to cover me, at my age (82) even though I had an accident 2 years ago. Resulting in car being a writeoff but TG no-one hurt.

Bluegal Mon 16-Apr-18 18:03:30

Haha do any of you remember the tv adverts that promoted the invention of automatics? I do!! At the time I couldn’t drive anyway but remember them saying “leave your left leg on floor” or words to that effect. Now I have a manual car but drive an automatic for work. I find it very easy swapping between the two ... I must admit I LOVE the automatic- feels like a dodgem 😂😂😂

Deedaa Mon 16-Apr-18 22:02:26

When we first had an automatic DH told me to tuck my left foot behind the other leg. I did it for a couple of weeks until I got used to not using it. Now I never even think about it.

gmelon Mon 16-Apr-18 22:12:11

Ummmmm.
I've been using my left foot for the brake. I didn't know I was doing it wrong.
I had to give up manual and have been driving an automatic for past seven years.
Wrongly. shock
I honestly did not know.

SueDonim Mon 16-Apr-18 23:22:37

I've Googled that Gmelon as I hadn't thought of it before! It seems it's not illegal and at least one commentator, Honest John, advocates it for manoeuvres. It's also a technique used by rally & racing drivers. grin

mumofmadboys Tue 17-Apr-18 08:07:29

Has anyone regretted switching to an automatic I wonder?

gmelon Tue 17-Apr-18 20:19:34

suedonim Feel better now. Rally drivers eh? grin Quite liking the sound of that.