Has this happened to you? You take a trip and when you get into the rental car, all the controls are set up differently than the car you normally drive. Where are the headlight controls? How do you tilt the steering wheel? Do the windshield wipers come on automatically when it rains? Do the headlights come on automatically when it starts to get dark? How does the entertainment system work? There are so many things to think about. You don’t want to pull out of the parking lot until you find these controls so you aren’t distracted when you are driving.
Now think about your teen driver who is just learning how to drive. They need to know these things before they start driving your car the first time out – and EVERY time after that. And if they will learn to drive using multiple cars, they should go through a Vehicle Controls Checklist every time they get in each car until they know where all the controls are without having to think about it.
What controls should your teen driver know the location of? Here is a list to review with them every time they drive. We have also posted a Vehicle Controls Worksheet on our website here.
Important Vehicle Controls:
- Tilt Steering Wheel
- Automatic/Manual Transmission
- Start Button/Key Fob Hole
- Parking Brake
- Cruise Control
- Mirror Controls
- Hazard Flasher
- Instrument Panel Light Switch
- Hood Release
- Trunk Release
- Gas Cap Release
- Seat Control Manual/Electric
- Separate Turn Control Lever
- Windshield Wiper Switch/Settings
- Windshield Washer Switch
- Air Bag Cut Off Switch
- Electric Door Locks
- Childproof Rear Door Locks
- Entertainment System Controls
- Navigation Controls
Once a vehicle is in motion, it is important that a driver of any age is in control of the vehicle. This includes all of the little things that more experienced drivers take for granted, like controls and switches. But if you have rented a car at all, you know that it may take a few minutes to identify the location of the many switches, controls and locks. That is why it is so important that these items be reinforced with a new teen driver every time they get in a car, whether it is the same car they normally drive or a different vehicle.
At Fresh Green Light, we review these controls using our Vehicle Controls Checklist with our driving students each time they practice with our instructors. But our Toyota Corollas may be set up differently than your sedan, van, SUV, pick up, or crossover. It takes parental involvement to really set your teen driver up for driving success!
For more information about Fresh Green Light and our unique driving program, go to www.freshgreenlight.com or contact us at 203-861-1188.