How to Be a Safe Passenger in a Car

Many states won’t allow teenage drivers to have more than one non-family member under the age of 21 in the vehicle. Why? Because passengers have shown to be some of the biggest distractions on the road. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you aren’t behind the wheel, here are some things that you, as a passenger, can do to help prevent distracted driving: 

Navigation and Entertainment

One of the most common causes of distracted driving is the use of electronic devices, especially smartphones. Even drivers who know better than to text while driving will still allow themselves to be distracted by what they consider to be “responsible” use of their phone — figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. 

Passengers can help with this by offering to navigate using a map or GPS app, or by controlling the music or podcast playlist. This allows the driver to keep their hands on the wheel, their eyes on the road, and their mind on the job at hand rather than fumbling with their phone.

Controlling the Controls

In addition to navigating, a front-seat passenger can also offer to work the dashboard controls for the radio, air conditioning, etc., so that the driver can keep their eyes on the road.

Being a Good Copilot

Another way passengers can help prevent distracted driving is by serving as a trusty copilot. This is accomplished by being aware of your surroundings and alerting the driver to potential hazards, such as construction, traffic congestion, or emergency vehicles. By providing this extra set of eyes and ears, you can help the driver stay focused on the task of driving. 

And with a passenger operating as a copilot, there are no such things as blind spots! 

Engage in Light Conversation

Passengers can also help to prevent distracted driving by engaging in conversation with the driver. However, it is important to keep the conversation light and not discuss anything too intense or emotional. This can help to keep the driver's mind off of other potential distractions, such as work- or school-related stress or other personal problems. 

By the way, this is also a great strategy for passengers to use when riding with a drowsy driver. 

Setting a Good Example

Finally, passengers can help to prevent distracted driving by setting a good example and exhibiting a sense of solidarity in the noble cause of keeping the roadways safe. 

If the driver isn’t supposed to be texting while driving, the supportive passenger should consider refraining from this as well — unless they are doing it on behalf of the driver. The same can be said for other distracting activities, like putting on makeup, playing video games, etc. 

By showing the driver that you are committed to safe driving, you can inspire them to do the same. 

Your Role 

In conclusion, passengers have a significant role to play in the fight against distracted driving. By providing navigation, being a good copilot, engaging in light conversation, and setting a good example, passengers can help keep the driver focused on the road and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. 

Remember, distracted driving is not only dangerous but also illegal in most states, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the car to ensure safety on the road. 

Here at Aceable, we preach the importance of road safety by eliminating distractions and driving defensively. If you want to learn more about our approach to drivers ed, we’re just one click away. 

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Michael Rhoda