Has anyone experienced this before?

All my life Ive driven manual cars. Now 1 day my gf wanted me to drive her around in her car for a change which was an auto. Now in my mind, I was very aware that it was an auto but as soon as we were about to move off my left leg automatically looked for the clutch & I had a little surprise when my foot

All my life Ive driven manual cars. Now 1 day my gf wanted me to drive her around in her car for a change which was an auto. Now in my mind, I was very aware that it was an auto but as soon as we were about to move off my left leg automatically looked for the clutch & I had a little surprise when my foot pressed down nothing! So again I reminded my self "Auto = no clutch" and we moved off.

Then for the next 2 -3 stops due to traffic or traffic lights, again my foot went looking for the clutch just before the car stopped.

Its like as if the muscle memory in me is so strong that looking for the clutch becomes an automatic response in such situations.

Im ok with driving both autos & manuals now. but has any of you out there ever experienced such things before?

Best Answer:

don: It's not actually "muscle memory" but it is what we commonly refer to as "muscle memory". Your leg muscles have no tissue in them that is capable of storing information so they don't actually remember anything but, the portion of your brain that controls fine motor function has been trained to respond to the stimulus of sitting in the driver's seat and to respond by operating the clutch (even though the clutch isn't present in the automatic).

The reason the motion is so hard to break is because it's not attached to a visual cue. Since you never actually looked at the clutch while you were training your brain how to operate it, there is no visual cue to turn off the behavior. It's like your alarm clock going off in the dark…years of knowing exactly where the clock is located will create a "muscle memory" that has you reaching for that exact spot in space even when you are in a hotel room and the alarm clock is not where it's supposed to be.

Other answer:

don:
Yes, if you aren't used to driving automatics you will do this a few times. As Evelyn said, count yourself lucky your left foot didn't hit the brake pedal.
The worst similar situation I had was driving a Mk1 Clio "Zoom" which had a manual transmission with an automatic clutch, so you changed gear with a normal 5sp+rev lever, lifting off the accelerator, just as in a normal manual, but it had no clutch pedal. After driving it around the M25 and up the M40 to jct. 15 or 16 without needing to drop out of 5th, I came off the M40, and at the top of the slip road approaching the roundabout went to change down a few gears, and having to reach for the gearlever meant I was programmed to also press the clutch, but got the brake instead. Thank goodness the colleague following me wasn't too close behind, as I slowed very suddenly.
Darkstar:
I do something strange when switching between manual and auto. When driving an auto I left foot brake. My car is an auto and work van manual, and so far had no problems switching between the two.
Percyqted:
What is more surprising is when you go back from auto to manual and forget the use your left foot at traffic lights or roundabouts
ANDY:
Hello

A lot of Automatics have a little rest for the Left foot

Andy C

Evelyn The Modified Dog:
You'll do it the first few times but you get used to it.
Just be thankful your clutch leg didn't stamp down on the big brake pedal, that can be quite a wake-up call.
Please punctuate properly, folks:
What Johnny and Evelyn said – and one thing I get annoyed with is how when I move between my different cars, I sometimes use the wipers instead of the indicators – it takes a bit of effort not to do so.

***update – I have just traded one car in, and swapped it so both of mine now have the indicators on the same side. :-))

?:
wait till you go back to manual and try to stop without de-clutching!
Skoda John:
No I switch between both with no issues.
John:
yeah thats annoying sometimes