This morning when I left the house I had to relearn how to drive, which as you can imagine was a surprise at 7am.
I am currently away with work as I am presenting at a two day exhibition. I’m not keen on driving long distances, so I normally travel by train when I’m away with work, however due to the location of the venue, the hotel and the lap top and banner stands I had for the presentation it was much simpler to drive.
When I got into the hire car this morning, I discovered it was an automatic transmission rather than the manual I had requested, and in my thirteen years of driving with a full licence I have never driven an automatic before. I wasn’t too worried though because I have heard it is much easier to drive an automatic compared to a manual, but it wasn’t all smooth as there were several long term habits that got in the way.
It should be simple, two feet and two pedals, but when you are used to three pedals it is confusing. When I first set off this morning I kept using the brake thinking it was the clutch, so the journey was a bit jerky to start with.
In an automatic car, it is so simple to pull away from a junction as you just press the accelerator, however it just feels wrong not to change in to second gear as the car starts accelerating. Several times I went to move the gear stick before realising there wasn’t one (or at least not a real one).
Plus it appears there are only four forward gears which means the fuel economy is very low compared to my own car (or maybe that is because it uses petrol and not diesel).
It has been an interesting (and I suspect valuable) experience to relearn a skill that I use each day, and I am sure that when I drive into work on Friday I will again need to consider my driving skills as I change back to a manual transmission.