Rivian Owner Accidentally Hits Emergency Brake on Highway Looking for Windshield Wipers

Shifting a pickup truck into park while traveling at highway speeds is generally something you’d want to avoid. The majority of cars and trucks throughout history have had gear selectors or other such mechanisms that make this mistake pretty difficult to do. While push-button transmissions had their time in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, they are coming back stronger than ever today. One Rivian R1T owner found out exactly what happens when you hit the park button in a modern car. 

A Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck outside of a vehicle plant in Normal, Illinois
A Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck | Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

What happens if you shift your truck into park while driving? 

According to CarScoops, this story was first posted on a Rivian FaceBook group, where the Rivian owner admitted his accident and issued a warning.  

R1T owner Daniel Goldburg fell on his own sword by posting about his accidental pushing of the park button on his Rivian R1T while driving the highway. According to CarScoops, this story was first posted on a Rivian Facebook group.

“Dangerous… has anyone pressed the park button by mistake while driving?” he asks the group.

He explained that while trying to hit the button for the windshield wipers, he accidentally fat-fingered the “Park” button. Before he realized which button he was holding, the electric pickup truck began to rapidly decelerate. He quickly let go of the button once he realized what he was holding. 

As Goldburg puts it, he “let go of the button quickly… and there was no issue. But I could see someone doing this, and it potentially causing an accident.”

Rivian owners to the rescue

Rivian R1t owner's manual schematic showing the park button location
Rivian R1t owner’s manual emergency brake | Rivian

The group members quickly spoke up to explain what the truck did. The Rivian user manual even explains that if you hold the park button while driving, it activates the emergency brake. There, it tells owners “If the brakes don’t work properly, press and hold the Park button to immediately decelerate. An emergency deceleration notification appears on the driver display.”

Hitting the park button while driving sounds pretty dramatic and even dangerous, but thankfully Rivian thought this possibility through and designed the truck to avoid locking up the transmission or anything wild like that. 

The manual goes on to explain that as soon as you release the park button, the truck with stop the rapid deceleration, as Goldburg found. Drivers can also hit the accelerator pedal to cancel the emergency brake. 

Before we get tempted to rouse Goldburg for his seemingly easily avoidable mistake, it would seem that others have also pushed the wrong button. 

CarScoops found another entry on the Facebook group admitting to the same mistake. “Even after participating in this post this morning, I hit the park button to cycle the windshield wipers today,” said one comment. “I’ve [sic] done it too. Scared the crap out of me. I don’t like it. It’s where cruise functions are located,” read another. A third comment about it said, “Yup. Same happened to me while trying to learn the cruise control functions. Pucker factor was off the charts. I was surprised the truck tried to stop.”

Are Rivian controls confusing? 

2022 Rivian R1T in Blue
2022 Rivian R1T in Blue | Rivian

If multiple Rivian R1T owners are making the same mistake of accidentally hitting the park button when trying to hit the windshield wipers, then it could be that Rivian made a miscalculation on the layout of the controls. Although the parking brake feature is pretty smart, Rivian owners might want to pay extra close attention when you go for the windshield wipers.