Is An Automatic Safer Than A Manual?

    Posted by Ben Davidson about 10 months ago

    Some people view and automatic as an easier car to drive, while others view it as a glorified go-kart. For some who don't have the necessary skills, the automatic takes a lot of the stress out of the process of driving. But, in terms of overall safety, is an automatic transmission safer than a manual? Let's find out.

    The Impact On The Driver

    The first thing to state about a automatic vehicle is that the stress of the operation of the vehicle means that because there's a lot less to do in terms of the driving, it becomes an easier task. Some people find driving a manual stressful because it doesn't come naturally. There is a handy article on that highlights the causes of driver stress and cures for this stress. But, put simply, if there is less to do in the vehicle, it makes the act of driving much easier. By the same token, driving a vehicle with minimal function could mean that the driver's attention is going to waiver. As a result, there could be an influx of car accidents, and the potential for distracted driving is going to be much higher. has an article on why texting and driving was behind a church bus crash, after 13 senior parishioners were killed by a young driver texting behind the wheel. And as driving an automatic seems to be much easier, as soon as you begin to know the roads, this could be a dangerous situation for any automatic driver.

    The Cost

    Comparing the costs of a manual transmission to an automatic, right away, an automatic is going to cost more upfront, but also the fuel cost is going to be more too. Because the car automatically changes gears for you, it naturally burns through more fuel. So you will get more miles per gallon out of a manual then you will an automatic. Depending on how much you drive, this is going to have to factor into your overall costs. You will be filling up the tank more in an automatic.

    The Control

    Speak to some people who have gone from a manual to an automatic, and they will tell you they will never go back to a manual because their life is so much easier. But for drivers who have had experience with both types of transmission will tell you that a manual gearbox is safer because they have more control of the vehicle. An automatic transmission is going to change gears automatically, and therefore is making a certain amount of guesswork of the best gear in any situation. And while automatic transmissions have become more sophisticated in recent years, it doesn't equate to what you can do with any given situation. You will be able to react better in an unusual situation, like a slippery road, or a collision up ahead.

    But, from a safety standpoint, both manual and automatic transmissions have no distinct advantage over the other. The only thing to really consider is the cost of the vehicle. If you can afford an automatic, and you don't enjoy the process of driving, this would be a better option. But if you like the idea of grinding gears and clutch control on a hill, then a manual is going to be the preferred option. But as far as safety is concerned, they are both equally matched.


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