Adjusting to a New Car

I had a ten year gap between car purchases. The last time I drove a new car home was 2008, and when I sat down in my new car in 2018, I thought it felt like going from a flip phone to a smart phone. Sure, both had the basic functions, but I could tell there was going to be a big adjustment period. The technology has come a long way! But honestly, even if you don't have a ten year, major technological gap, switching from the familiar, something you knew like the back of your hand, is a change you can't just ignore.

1. Get a good feel for the basics
Yes, you've driven before, and every car has things like brakes and steering. However, different vehicles have different feels and response times. In addition, if you're switching from a sedan to an SUV, or minivan, just the vehicle height will feel different. Take the time to get the feel of how the car accelerates, stops, and turns before you put yourself in a traffic filled situation.

2. Important Stuff FIRST
I was itching to get to that new technology and all the great stuff my new car was capable of. But that wouldn't have been smart. Get yourself feeling comfortable with the mirrors, steering wheel position, and seat position. You need to feel comfortable driving. In addition, it's crucial to know how to work the windshield wipers, turn signals, emergency flashers and lights. Everything was in a slightly different place, and I can't count the times I've already accidentally sprayed my windshield with cleaner while trying to do one swipe with the wipers.

3. Give Yourself a Grace Period
My new car is slightly bigger, so while I got used to the new size, I parked further away where I knew I had room. The last thing I wanted was to ding another car, simply because my spatial awareness needed to adjust.

4. Familiarize yourself in a RELAXED time
I focused my dealer time during delivery day on the important things, even though I was itching to try out all the fun stuff. After that, I was able to take some time in my driveway to play with the technology, sync up my phone, and get things organized just as I liked them.

Do NOT try to figure out anything new while you're driving. We had one crazy moment when we had both the radio playing music AND an audio book playing via Bluetooth from my phone and we couldn't figure out how to get either to turn off (and stay off!). My daughter and I were laughing hysterically, but I certainly wasn't going to try and solve that mystery while navigating traffic! If it's crucial (wipers, lights), pull over, if it isn't, you can wait until you're parked in a safe place.

For as overwhelmed as I was with everything that was new, it only took a week before I felt right at home!

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