UP TO THE TEST: Many new drivers only learn in automatics.
UP TO THE TEST: Many new drivers only learn in automatics.

The pros and cons of an automatic-only licence

It used to carry a bit of a stigma some years ago, with many parents insisting their learner driver son or daughter get a manual licence - but is it really necessary?

Obviously, drivers with an automatic licence can't legally drive a manual vehicle if they need to but, for many, access to a manual car for learning may be difficult.

Most cars now are produced with automatic transmissions with the manual option included as special order. This often means, all family cars are automatic, leaving the learner with few training options.

Most driving schools have the option of either transmission in the fleet, so a learner can have their lessons and take the test in a manual car and then drive automatic with the family, which is an approach I've taken with my kids.

Even if you get an automatic-only licence, it doesn't have to stay that way forever.

If you're game to sit another driving test in a manual vehicle and you pass, you can upgrade. For my kids, while I'm glad they can drive both transmissions, my only insistence is they drive sensibly and safely.