Riding in a car with your friends should be a source of good times and memories you can hold onto for years to come — as long as the fun doesn’t get in the way of responsible behavior. While you have the most control over these events when behind the wheel, passengers can also have a greater influence than you might imagine.
In this article, we'll look at five ways that you can be a safe and supportive passenger in a car driven by another teen.
1. Wear Your Seatbelt
The first and most obvious safety tip is to always wear your seatbelt. It's the law, and it's there for your safety. Even if you're just going a short distance, it's important to buckle up. Seatbelts can help prevent serious injuries in the event of an accident.
This is your chance to apply a little, constructive peer pressure with a simple click.
2. Don’t Be a Distraction
When riding in a car with friends, it's tempting to chat, take photos or videos, or use your phone. We’re not suggesting that you should enact a total ban on these activities, just take care not to do these things in a way that distracts the driver, as that can lead to accidents. Avoid anything that could take the driver's attention away from the road.
Your job is to reduce, not create, distractions!
3. Don't Drink or Use Drugs — or Ride with Someone Who Does
Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs. It's not worth the risk. Be sure to have backup plans to get home safely if you or your friends have been drinking or using drugs.
This is a situation where you are better off letting everyone — especially the driver — know your expectations upfront rather than having to bail on everyone at the last minute when you realize the danger of the situation.
4. Stay Alert
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings while riding in a car. If you notice anything unusual or concerning, speak up. Don't be afraid to ask the driver to slow down or be more cautious. You can also offer to help with directions or provide additional eyes on the road in order to eliminate blind spots.
The need to “copilot” will vary, depending on road conditions and traffic. Understand that the line between “helpful passenger” and “backseat driver” is a thin one!
5. Support the Rules of the Road
Be a responsible passenger by encouraging the driver to follow the rules of the road. Don't tempt the driver to speed, run red lights, or break other traffic laws. Those behaviors would put everyone in the car at risk.
Use your peer pressure… your influencer status, if you will… for good, not evil!
Bonus Tip: Use Your Passenger Time to Take a Drivers Ed Course on Your Phone
As mentioned earlier, there will be times when the driver of the vehicle could use your active support to help them navigate the roadway safely. But there will be downtimes, too, when your help is not needed, and you might get bored or be tempted to engage in some activity that could potentially distract the driver.
A much more constructive use of your time as a passenger would be to take a drivers ed class on your phone so that, in the near future, you’ll be the driver who appreciates safe and supportive passengers like you!
Aceable's Online Learning
Aceable is a new way to experience drivers ed — fully online, mobile, and engaging. We want you to learn how to be a safe driver from the start.
Whether you're on your mobile phone, iPad, or computer, your progress is saved across every device, so you can start, stop, and return to your online drivers education course where and how you want. Check out our state-approved and certified online driving courses today!