Chapter 3

Basic Vehicle Control
Chapter 3
Ford Taurus Instrument
Instruments, Controls &
Instrument Panel – directly in front of you pg 41
• gauges/warning lights
• Varies from car to car
Speedometer – mph & kilometers per hour
Tachometer – indicate rpm’s – revolutions per minute
Odometer – indicates total number of miles driven
Fuel Gauge – amount of fuel in tank
• Minimum ¼ tank except in winter min ½ tank
Temperature Light – warns you if engine is too hot
Oil Gauge – warns if oil is not circulating at proper pressure
• Does not tell you amount of oil in engine
Instruments, Controls &
Devices - continued
Alternator Warning Light – warns you if problems in autos
electrical system – battery may be drained
Brake System Warning Light – remind you to release parking break
or braking system may not be working
Antilock Braking System Light (ABS) – keeps brakes from locking –
light indicates problem with system
Safety Belt System – fasten your seat belt
Air Bag Warning Light – air bag system not working properly
Turn Signal Indicator
High Beam Indicator -
Vehicle Control
Steering Wheel
Steering Wheel Adjustment Lever
Selector Lever – used to change gears (P-R-N-D) automatic transmission
Gear/Shift Lever – manual transmission
Ignition –
Cruise Control
allows drivers to drive at a constant speed
to cancel, tap brake
Parking Brake
Clutch Pedal – to the left of the brake
Brake Pedal – push pedal or pull handle
Accelerator Pedal
Lock (when the ignition switch is turned to lock, the steering wheel and gear lever are locked.
Vehicle Controls continued
Head Restraints (Padded devices on the backs of front seat/reduce whiplash)
Outside Mirrors
Rear View Mirror
Blind Spot
Hazard Flasher – located on steering column
Warn others that you are in trouble
Turn Signal Lever ( Right Up, Left Down)
Windshield Wiper / Washer (use windshield washer solution)
Light Switch
Hood Release
Heating / Air Conditioning
Seat Adjustment
Ready to Drive?
Outside Checks
Objects in path of tires
Oil /water marks
Tires (make sure they are properly inflated)
Direction of front wheels
Clear windshield, windows, mirrors, headlights,
Check inside (unwanted passengers)
Ready To Drive?
Inside Checks
Lock all doors
Adjust Seat (approx. 10” from steering wheel)
Adjust head restraint (middle of back of your head)
Adjust rearview mirror
Adjust side mirrors
Fasten Safety Belts and ask passengers to do the same
Driving with Automatic
Selector Positions
Park – locks the transmission
Should be in park before you start driving and you should
put it in park every time you stop driving
NEVER shift into park when the vehicle is moving
Most vehicles can’t remove the keys until the car is in park
Reverse – used for backing
Always come to a complete stop before shifting to reverse
Back Up Lights come on (White in Color)
Drive – Keep pressure on the brake while shifting to drive
Overdrive – D with a circle around it - most cars automatically shift
to overdrive at 40-45 mph
Driving in overdrive saves fuel and can be used in all normal forward
Driving with Automatic
Selector Positions – continued
Low (L1 – L2 or 1 – 2)
Send more power to wheels at slower speeds
L1 – going up or down steep grades or pulling heavy
L2 – driving in snow
Driving with Automatic
Starting The Vehicle
Make sure the parking brake is set
Make sure you are in park
If the engine has stalled – you may start it in Neutral
Fuel Injection Cars – keep foot off the accelerator
Turn the ignition on – Release when you hear engine
Check Gauges, Warning Lights, Fuel Supply
If you are unsure about whether or not the vehicle has
started, press the accelerator once lightly.
Driving with Automatic
Hand Position
8 &4
Keep knuckles out some say thumbs out
Steering Points
Don’t aim right in front of you – Pick a target that is far
Don’t use road lines
Driving with Automatic
Moving (parked against right curb)
Foot on brake
Shift to Drive
Release Parking Brake
Check traffic ahead, rearview mirror
Put on left turn signal
Check ahead, mirrors, blind spot
Release pressure on brake pedal and gently accelerate
Check Blind Spot again
Adjust speed to match flow of traffic
Rest heel on the floor and pivot from brake to accelerator
ALWAYS come to a full stop before changing gears
Driving with Automatic
Check traffic before slowing
Ease up on the accelerator
Tap on brake lightly (signals intention to stop)
Gradually, press on brake
Ease up just before stopping
Securing The Vehicle
Shift to park
Set parking brake
Turn off ignition – remove keys – release brake
Lock doors
Driving with Manual
Must learn to coordinate using the clutch with the
accelerator and gear selector
Key: Engage the clutch smoothly and control the
friction point
Friction Point – Where you feel the engine take hold
and car starts to move
Most 4 or 5 speed
Reverse – either upper left or far upper or lower right or left
Driving with Manual
Guidelines: Read owners manual
4th-5th gear – for speeds over 35-45 / highway driving
Neutral – standing still or starting the engine
1st gear – start vehicle – 10-15 mph
2nd gear – 15-25 mph
3rd gear – 25-40 mph
Shifting from a higher gear to a lower gear is known as “Downshifting.”
Driving with Manual
Using the Clutch
Always push the clutch to the floor before starting or
before coming to a stop
Do not get in the habit of “Ridding the Clutch”
Happens when you rest your foot on clutch while driving.
Wears down the clutch
Parking brake on
Clutch to the floor
Gear selection in Neutral
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