Lesson 7: Things Your Teen Can Practice While Parked

Modern vehicles have buttons for just about everything, from adjusting mirrors and seats to radio stations and windows. Though these features can be convenient, they can also pose risks for inexperienced teens. Remember, anything that takes your eyes off the road is a potentially dangerous distraction, especially for new drivers. Here’s how you can safely familiarize your teen with these controls before he or she starts driving. 

Practice While You're Parked

Have your teen get in the driver’s seat, buckle up and start the vehicle. Instead of driving, however, have your teen practice adjusting the car’s:

  • radio volume
  • driver’s seat
  • heating and air conditioning
  • windows
  • mirrors
  • windshield wipers
  • lights

Initially, your teen will have to look around for the right buttons, but with some practice he or she will learn to adjust these things on the fly.

Eyes on the Road

Not only is this a great skill for your teen to learn, it’s also a good checklist to run through before driving an unfamiliar vehicle. We don’t often think about the headlights or windshield wipers until we need them, but those are the exact times when your teen has to know how to use those features. Any time spent looking around for them is time with your teen’s eyes and mind off the road. Before your teen drives a vehicle, make sure he or she takes a few moments to find these features and understand how they work. 

Practice: Quiz your teen on the systems he or she should adjust while driving. Though it’s helpful to know how to activate the windshield wipers when a rain shower crops up, your teen should never adjust the GPS on his or her phone unless the vehicle is safely parked. This can be a slippery slope, so be sure to make these limits clear and follow them yourself.


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