Increasing numbers of young drivers are deciding that learning to change gear in a car is a waste of time. The past 12 months has seen an 11 per cent year-on-year jump in the number of drivers qualifying with an automatic-only licence.
In 2012, there were just 550,000 drivers holding automatic-only licences. In 2021, that figure had doubled to 1.1 million.
According to a recent survey by safety charity IAM RoadSmart, around six in 10 youngsters between 17 and 24 plan to apply for an automatic-only licence.
Others think the popularity of automatic-only licences could go further, faster. Approved driving instructor Karen Bransgrove revealed: “The market for people learning to drive just an automatic has increased 10-fold over the past few years. I now have an automatic and wouldn’t teach driving a manual.”
Once upon a time, drivers simply had the choice between manual or automatic gearboxes. Now for anyone who wants to let the car’s electronic brain take the strain, there are a variety of different self-shifting gearboxes available.
Thanks to advances in technology, automatic gearboxes have become far more efficient. And as they can accommodate more ratios – some have 10 speeds – they help drivers to save fuel too.
Here we explain the difference between the four main types of automatic gearbox and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.