Here at Aceable we preach the importance of being a safe driver because that’s what our online drivers ed courses are designed to do – teach you how to drive safely. But it’s just as important to be a safe passenger.
Passengers can be the biggest distractions on the road. Case in point, many states won’t allow teenage drivers to have more than one non-family member under the age of 21 in the vehicle. State law officials have realized that risk goes up for young, inexperienced drivers when there are a lot of people (especially other teens) in the car while they’re driving.
When you aren’t behind the wheel, you can do your part to make the ride safer by following these passenger best practices.
Always Buckle Up
First and foremost, no matter where you sit in the vehicle always buckle up. In many places it’s the law, and it’s one less thing the driver has to worry about.
Refrain From Pointing at Things Off the Road
“Oh my God, look at that!” Tempting the driver to take their eyes off the road is a big no-no. All it takes is one second of looking away for a collision to happen. Actually, looking at something off the road could cause the driver to veer in the direction their heads turns and cause an accident.
Help the Driver Navigate
There’s nothing more harrowing than trying to drive in an unfamiliar area as you split your attention between the road and a map app. Safe passengers know to take on the role of co-pilot for the driver. If you’re in the front passenger seat offer to pull up the directions and help the driver navigate where you need to go.
Offer to Work the Dashboard Controls
We understand that drivers like to be the sole operators of their vehicles, but while in transit it’s safer for them to keep their hands on the wheel. In addition to navigating, the passenger up front can also offer to work the dashboard controls for the radio, air conditioning, etc. so the driver can stay focused on driving.
Resist the Urge to Crank Up the Radio
Carpool Karaoke is fun to watch, but reenacting it isn’t the best idea. As James Corden has shown us, cranking up the radio can lead to very enthusiastic singing that distracts from safe driving.
Remind the Driver Not to Text and Drive
Driving while intexticated (the technological DWI) is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. If you’re in the car with a driver who’s texting, gently remind them that every day 11 teenagers die as a result of texting and driving. All-in-all you’re 23 times more likely to have a collision if the driver is texting. Step in and be the designated texter if the driver is worried about missing a message.
Keep Conversations Calm
Drivers that are in a positive, relaxed mental state are going to drive more safely. Never get the driver worked up with a hot topic, and for the love of everything holy prevent arguments at all cost.