Cars with automatic transmissions are very popular for both new and experienced drivers, as they are generally simpler to operate than manual transmissions and can be more comfortable for long trips. These simple steps will guide you in learning to operate an automatic transmission, but remember: before operating any motor vehicle, please make sure you have a valid driver’s license and understand all local traffic laws.
Identify the controls. It is essential to find the accelerator and brake pedals, the steering wheel, the gear selector lever, the light controls, the defroster, and the windshield wipers before you begin.
- The brake and accelerator pedals are located at the bottom front of the area where your feet are. The brake pedal is on the left, the accelerator is on the right.
- The steering wheel is the large wheel in the center of the driver’s console. Turn it to the left and right to turn the wheels of the vehicle.
- Located on the steering column (usually on the left side) is a small lever that has a rest position in the middle and two locking positions above and below. This is the turn signal. Often on the left side of the steering wheel mounted into the console or a knob on one of the levers on the steering column is the control which turns the headlights on and off.
- The gear selector lever will usually be in one of two places: it is either mounted to the right side of the steering column or in-between the driver’s and passenger’s seats. It will have a display showing gear indicators, usually marked with the letters “P”, “D”, “N”, and “R” and a few numbers. On steering-column shifting levers, this display is usually located on the instrument panel, underneath the speedometer.