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View Poll Results: Do automatic transmissions make drivers more disciplined?
Yes. 180 44.44%
No. 32 7.90%
Neither. Depends on the driver 193 47.65%
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:05   #1
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Default Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

Hello! I recently got my first automatic car here in India Honda city (CVT). It was mainly manual transmissions before that for me over here (swift, i20 to the Innova). One thing I have noticed after switching over to automatic is that my driving style has become more relaxed and laid back. In fact even if someone cuts me off while waiting in a line I don’t get angry . Is this the effect of automatic gearboxes?

I am mainly based in the Middle East and drive automatics over there and my driving style is very composed and calm. Come over here, pick a manual car and it is all chaos and a rush again. However driving automatic here in India is a relative new experience. It has made me more humble and relaxed. However recently while driving a friend's manual transmission Brezza, the old need for speed, irritation for those who cut me in the traffic etc. came back.

I have felt an automatic transmission in our road conditions makes for more disciplined and orderly traffic manners. Perhaps this could reduce the chaos from most of our roads and bring about discipline on our roads.

BHP’ians kindly share your experience and whether your driving nature has changed while going for automatics. I am not talking about power hungry cars like the Porches or BMWs ! Rather mainly in the context of cars below the 40 lakh price bracket.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:11   #2
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I've had a manager tell me that after buying the cvt Jazz, he didn't find the commute stressful. He mentioned the reduction in effort made him less concerned about the indisciplined driving around him.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:25   #3
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I have driven manual transmission cars less than 1% of my total driving time but even then I can tell you this that the joy of turning the steering wheel with two hands while a perfect music is playing on twisty roads, tapping on the steering wheel rim is something else.

It's like dancing with both your hands being free to steer.
  • Panic braking without stalling ever? That's a bonus.
  • Bumper to bumper traffic? Chill with the crawl function.
  • Fear of burning the clutch? No. (Not 100% sure though)
  • Best one? Almost no-one will borrow your car unless they know how to drive an automatic!

Barring true driving enthusiasts most of the naysayers are just against automatics for no reason. Give them an AT and they feel like it's a bliss! (Again, not for true MT enthusiasts).

The 50K-120K over and above the MT for same spec is well worth the amount of stress, frustration, left leg clutch induced pain, chauffeur(?) and other expense that you reduce.

The only drawback that I see is getting bored on a straight lined highway road.

To conclude, even if I get frustrated by anything, driving the AT car with some good music makes me calm.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:25   #4
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

Mod Note : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

We advise you to read the Forum Rules before proceeding any further. Request to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

Last edited by GTO : 15th January 2021 at 07:17.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:27   #5
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

NO it all depends on the driver at the end of the day. Someone who has mastered control over his/her vehicle will be able to drive it aggressively/relaxed in a controlled manner. If anything, I feel automatic gearboxes make people more lazy and that laziness is masked under a veil of discipline.

Just the other day a brand new automatic Seltos driven by someone from the same colony decided he could stop at a turn just before our gate in order to drop off his friend. These same supposedly "relaxed" drivers take 5 seconds to react to a green light when they are inevitably at the front since they didn't bother making the previous light

Discipline unfortunately is not taught and thus only comes from experience, maturity and common sense in our country.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:27   #6
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

It did for me, because I had the City CVT.

Dont get me wrong, I am always disciplined, but I would not dare overtakes or fast manoeuvres because of the performance lag.

HATED IT! Sold the City VX CVT (with a sunroof which I loved) for a Polo 1.6 Petrol.

Started to love driving again!
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:30   #7
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I believe the type of transmission doesn’t matter to how well the driver is driving the car. An automatic can be driven rashly, a manual can be driven very smoothly with perfect discipline. It’s all in the hands of the driver, how he or she wants to drive. Clutch gear or torque converter or CVT or dual clutch, that’s all irrelevant here.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:37   #8
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I’ve never driven a CVT gearbox before. I’ve heard from friends that it does shift very late or calmly. However I’ve driven quite a few DSG’s including 450+ hp one’s. And when behind the wheel in a DSG car, one does tend to push the car every now and then. So I guess its just relative and mostly depends on the person. In a CVT one might take it easy and not kickdown the pedal even once. But in DSG, you may find a few people trying to push the car once in a while and sometimes not drive in a disciplined way. That said, I will also say that not every manual car driver drives in a undisciplined way. I guess its got to do with age also, someone of my father’s age say 60+ would drive the car easily always. On the other hand, the young folks in early 20’s are always going for pedal to the metal even in manuals.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:44   #9
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I guess the type of automatic matters too, have seen plenty of Polo GT TSi being driven aggressively, CVT probably doesn't reward heavy right foot, hence might change our behaviour.

My TC AT rewards both style of driving, so I drive fast when I need to, drive it smoothly when I need good FE and less fatigue.
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Old 14th January 2021, 17:51   #10
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

Two aspects to it, experience and composure. When a driver has both, transmissions make no difference in driving discipline.

In case a driver is not well experienced, a stick shift can be slightly distracting. I have often noticed novice drivers have trouble holding the steering steady while shifting gears.

Coming to composure, IMO, it is more a personality. I tend to agree that the laid back feel of automatics can have an effect on composure as there are less triggers coming from car. However for the fast and furious, sluggishness itself can play the contrary.

Edit: on a similar note, I have another question. Do transmissions have any effect on drowsiness / sleepy driving ?

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 14th January 2021 at 18:02. Reason: additional query
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Old 14th January 2021, 18:01   #11
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I've been driving since 1988 and have driven an automatic only since 2015: first my son's Grand i10: I took delivery of it and then got the City CVT in 2017 and it's been 'nirvana' in the urban environment so to speak. I was a die hard manual fan before but the stress of driving and traffic conditions make automatic the perfect sense and stress buster in the City. I've become a more relaxed driver: "no point hurrying" a CVT: whether you use the paddles or S it's all noise and no progress . Fuel efficiency is between 10-11 kmpl which is better than Grand i10 automatic.
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Old 14th January 2021, 18:13   #12
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I don't think so. Automatics would reduce the fatigue and effort to ride on traffic packed roads. Give it to someone who hardly uses blinkers, headlight dipper and lacks other road manners; I bet the changes would be minimal. In short, the driving habits will remain the same.

Last edited by ASP007 : 14th January 2021 at 18:32.
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Old 14th January 2021, 19:36   #13
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

For me, other than making me relaxed and giving some lesser left knee actions, I haven’t noticed any reasonable change with respect to discipline. Not that I was bad earlier.

On the contrary, I have noticed some folks who put pedal to metal at signals with a view of scooting out of the signal, which I guess is easier with AT.

A side topic - I somehow stalled my Baleno once in Bumper to bumper traffic. I was alternating between D and N for the 1 feet movement ahead, and the frequency of this D-N-D change was very high due to very bad traffic. In one such change, the engine was off (not sure if it was stalled). I pressed the start button and it came to life instantly, and I had forgotten about it. But this post made me remember that incident.
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Old 14th January 2021, 19:49   #14
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

With cars, I don't think it makes a difference and I would say it just depends on the driver. But in Bangalore, the worst ridden two wheelers seem to be the Activas and Deos. So I don't think automatic means more disciplined.
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Old 14th January 2021, 19:49   #15
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Default re: Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?

I have been driving my sister Nexon for the past couple of days. Believe me I had the same thought and I did wonder why.
It may be because I know that I can’t immediately down shift to overtake the guy who just cut me off or may be the relaxed mindset which comes with an automatic .
Either way automatics are relaxing to drive in the city but I am not sure if I would enjoy on a highway drive.
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