Lighten Up! - Obscure question - driving an automatic car for first time...




Ellie R
07-06-2009, 05:47 PM
Hey there,

I am coming to America!!!....2 week road trip, quite worried about the supersize portions, but also worried about the driving, have done the other side of the road a few times, so not too bothered about this, but have never driven an automatic, and have no clue how to do things like hill starts etc
Any advice greatly appreciated

ps, sorry about the weird question in a weight loss forum, hope I found the appropriate place to post!


RedPorcupine
07-06-2009, 06:19 PM
Automatics are much easier to drive than manuals, in my opinion. No gear-shifting, just turn your key, step on your break, get into "drive" gear and go. It's not like manuals where you have to balance klutches and gears and fun stuff like that when you've stopped uphill (rolling back in tight traffic is NOT fun!).

Unless you meant to say a manual car, in which case the only advice I can give you is to drive it around a traffic-free area for a while until you're completely comfortable. After the first day or so you'll be a pro.

But yeah, automatics are the bomb. Seriously, it made me lazy! Not as great with gas mileage, but it gives me more free time to skip through songs on my iPod and chew my nails.

As for the supersized portions, that all depends on where in America you're going. Where I live (Los Angeles area) the portions can be gigantic, so yeah, just drink alot of water and monitor just how much is actually on the plate. (I constantly give food away to my dad or boyfriend until I feel better about the amount in front of me. They totally don't mind, hahaha.) It's easy to get carried away when a big plate is in front of you...but if you drink the water first to help fill you up, and then have a realistic understanding of just how much food is actually weighing down that poor table creaking beneath it, you'll have a better chance at doing well for yourself.

Where my family lives in the Arkansas/Missouri area, the portions are much more reasonable. I can actually order something and not feel like I should feed Jesus' 5,000 and still have 12 baskets left over.

Ellie R
07-06-2009, 06:26 PM
Hey thanks for that!!!!

Yeah, I think on balance I need to worry more about all the naughty food I might eat than the car.

Im just nervous about the combo of an unfamiliar type of car coupled with the other side of the road!!!!

I am going to California, San Fran to vegas and back through LA, so I am gonna let myself have a few treats, but I think I will try really hard to stay away from the roadside diners etc.

Thanks you've made me feek better bout the driving


beerab
07-06-2009, 06:33 PM
Yeah that's the nice thing about automatics- let go of the brake and just go :)

No need to worry about hills or anything- that's what kills me in manual cars1

Turn on car, obiously hold down the BRAKE pedal, shift into DRIVE, and you are all set! :D

CatR
07-06-2009, 07:37 PM
I would suggest taking a cooler along with some ziplock bags and a few of the smaller inexpensive containers with lids (made by Ziplock and Glad) so you can take food for some of your meals. You can also save part of your super-sized meals for later.

That is going to be a fun trip:).

Operator265
07-06-2009, 08:10 PM
Are you using a friend's car or a rental? Anymore, it's kinda hard to even find a standard transmission for sale. Seems as though they may have gone out of style, unless it's on a hauler. We didn't see one when we were looking at the lots awhile back. Even heavy equipment is pretty much automatic.

nooch
07-06-2009, 09:09 PM
I learned on an automatic and honestly I think I only know one person who drives stick! You will be fine - it is kind of like driving a bumper car.

Ellie R
07-07-2009, 02:55 AM
Ah thanks all.
(We'll have a rental - a convertible, yippee)
I just read after a google search tht sometimes the car rolls backwards on a hill, where i would hold it on the clutch on a manual, As we are kicking off in San Fran, that was a particular worry of mine...

Anyway, am going to quit worrying now, and aim to enjoy.

thanks for all the answers
xxo

david
07-07-2009, 03:42 AM
i live 20 mins from sf...i used to drive a coke truck there every day....its not all hills and its not that hard to avoid them, but with an automatic you dont need to worry about it

sidhe
07-09-2009, 01:06 AM
One tip: when you drive an automatic, you need to PUT IT IN PARK when you stop your drive! It's not like a manual--you can't just leave it in whatever gear you're in, put on the handbrake and leave the car. I learned to drive on an automatic but then swapped to stick and have been driving stick for the last 16 years. When you rent a car, though, you get automatics. Things to remember:

*You don't have to shift when you come to a stop sign/light. If it makes you feel more comfortable rest your hand on the shift, of course, but don't actually MOVE the shift.
*There's no clutch. That pedal you can hit with your left foot? Brake. Bad idea! ;)
*The aforementioned "put it in park". Automatics won't let you remove the key from the ignition if it's not in park, also. If you can't get the key out, check what gear you're in.
*At stop signs/lights, automatics will creep a little bit forward if you take your foot off the brake. It's the kind of creeping you get if you're riding your clutch. Be sure you hold the brake when you're stopped.
*Right turn on red is legal in some places unless signed (ask). LEFT turn on red is not.
*Lane discipline: Californians have basically no idea what that is. Trust me, I'm a Californian! If you're going slower, stay to the outside (far right). Bunny-hopping from car to car will get you a ticket (excessive lane changes). Pick a lane and stay in it, adjust your speed to the car in front of you. Ideally, a car that is not speeding! Try to stay at the speed limit. Keep in mind that driving a rental car in some areas is considered a "ticket me!" flag, and your having a non-CA license makes it pretty much guaranteed.
*Another thing about CA roads-->roadsigns: If the sign overhead says EXIT ONLY and a yellow arrow points at your lane, the lane exits. Period. If there are two arrows, one white and one yellow, with an EXIT ONLY placard, the lane that is yellow (the far right lane) exits. The lane that is white splits and you can stay on or go off. If you want to stay on, be in a white-arrow lane.
*Do yourself a favor, merge at speed. :)

Have fun! :)

Ellie R
07-09-2009, 08:13 AM
Thanks so much for that...I am printing out all my reservations etc for my trip today, and your advice is being printed alongside!!
you're very good

Ellie