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Along for the ride

When it comes to driving safely, the focus tends to be on what the driver should or shouldn’t be doing. But what about putting the responsibilities of the passenger in the driving seat? When you get into someone’s car, the expectation is that they’ll be competent enough to drive safely. But what should you be doing as a passenger to help stay safe? A vow of silence as soon as you hit the road is not required, but make yourself aware of the extent of the driver’s workload. Whether you’re just nipping to the high street or on a longer journey, your driver has to juggle complex junctions plus other drivers, as well as keeping an eye out for all signs or turnings; even the most skilled of multi-taskers will need their full attention. It’s smart to be considerate with your conversation. Try to wait for quieter stretches of road, or when you’re waiting in traffic before serious chatting and avoid debates. If you have children in the car, you don’t need to be Julie Andrews, but let them focus on you not the person behind the wheel. If you’ve been out socialising, it’s important to respect your designated driver, so don’t offer them a bite of your kebab on the bypass. The best advice is try to be useful and cut driver distractions, at least offer to operate the satnav, playlist or radio, keep watch for diversions and read the road signs. Above all be tactful, keeping a watchful eye is one thing, but criticising every move your driver makes will only annoy them.