Is the Automatic Driving Test Easier?

If you struggle with clutch control or gear selection, then yes, the automatic driving test is easier. However, other than having to deal with the clutch and gears, the automatic driving test is exactly the same as the manual test.

You are likely to find the automatic driving test easier because:

  • There’s no manual clutch to operate
  • Gears are automatically changed for you
  • You do not have to be concerned with stalling the car
  • Hill starts are easier in an automatic
  • Manoeuvres can be easier in an automatic
  • Due to not having to worry about the clutch and gears, you can concentrate more on what’s going on around you
  • Control of the vehicle can improve due to both hands being on the steering wheel more of the time

Many more candidates are now choosing the automatic driving test over manual, with 144 percent increase in 2019 compared to 2009. Compare that with candidates over the same period of time opting for the manual test and we can see those figures drop by 12.5 percent.

Why Are More People Taking the Automatic Test?

While you can drive an automatic car if you have a full manual driving licence, people are considering this to be less of an incentive and there’s good reason why. More people are deciding to take the automatic test because:

  • Automatic cars are easier to drive 
  • Automatic cars are quicker to learn to drive in
  • Automatic cars are often more fuel efficient
  • Due to the popularity of automatic cars, there are now many more vehicle models available
  • Hybrid and electric cars are increasing in popularity – they are all automatic transmission
  • When it comes to resale, automatic cars hold their value better
  • Manual cars are being phased out. By 2030, there will be far fewer manual cars on the roads

Why Are Automatic Test Pass Rates Lower?

While the pass rates for automatic driving tests are indeed lower than manual, it certainly doesn’t mean that you have a better chance of passing if you take the manual driving test.

The likely biggest factor for this result is that the majority of candidates taking the automatic driving test are mainly based in and around large towns and cities where overall pass rates are lower compared to other locations. If those taking the automatic test were as evenly spread across the country as those taking the manual test, pass rates would be more equal, or perhaps automatic pass rates would be higher.

4 thoughts on “Is the Automatic Driving Test Easier?”

  1. I’ve been learning to drive for five years only had one test failed cause I put it in reverse I have to pass my theory test for a third time and I’m thinking may be going automatic would be easier.

    1. Hi Ian
      To be honest, most new cars are now automatic and are filtering down through the second hand market very widely. Add to that, as fossil fuel cars are being phased out in favour of electric cars, the days of the manual transmission are limited. Unless manual is really your thing, then I see little point in it.

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