There’s nothing like feeling at home behind the wheel of your own car. Being comfortable at the wheel doesn’t just put you more at ease, but it helps you feel more confident in stressful driving situations. If you’re on the hook to drive a rental, company vehicle or a family member or friend’s car, the unfamiliarity might lead to feelings of anxiety. To get yourself in the right frame of mind before you take to the road, consider some of the ways you can adjust to a different car.
One of the first things to do behind the wheel of a new car is adjust the driver’s seat to ensure that you have enough room to comfortably reach the steering wheel and the pedals. You should also reposition the rearview mirror and side mirrors so you can easily see what is behind you. Above all else, spend some extra time in your temporary vehicle to learn its differences and quirks before starting the engine.
Scan the interior
According to Tom Voelk, contributor to The New York Times, many people keep their cars and trucks for over 12 years. If you’ve had yours for a long time, you’re likely quite used to its technologies and features. As such, it will be important to examine your temporary car’s user interface, dashboard, clutch and other controls. Feel free to play around with the controls to familiarize yourself with their capabilities so that you can access features like windshield wipers and headlights more readily.
Read the manual
If there are certain technologies or other features that puzzle you, your best bet is to consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual. These instructions will provide you with the information necessary to understand features and technologies like a blind spot warning system, GPS navigation, keyless ignition and automatic braking. If you’re borrowing a vehicle from a friend or driving it for them, take time to speak with them beforehand to go over the ins and outs of the various technology.
No matter how experienced you are at driving, you need to make sure you adhere to the rules of the road. Don’t treat the experience of driving a new car any different than you would your own. Buckle up before you drive, obey posted speed limits and avoid distractions like your smartphone. Because the vehicle you are driving is not your own, make sure you are even more cautious than normal, particularly when it comes to tailgating and driving in inclement weather.
Familiarizing yourself with a different vehicle is a process. Paying attention to detail, doing your homework and exercising patience will enable you to learn the ins and outs of your new vehicle.