Tag Archives | passenger

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.

Perfect passenger

As a passenger all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. Well, perhaps if you’re the Queen, but being a passenger – particularly in the front seat – is a responsible role. In rally cars, the co-driver is an extra pair of eyes for the driver, telling them where to go and warning them of hazards. There’s no reason why a front seat passenger shouldn’t play a similar role. You can alert the driver to vehicles they may not have seen or look out for road signs. And you can be a handy assistant, programming the sat nav and taking control of in-car entertainment. But, it’s essential to be a help not a hindrance, so don’t distract the driver.

A good passenger will know when to pipe up and down: you might be directing someone along roads that are unfamiliar. In that case, the driver will probably thank you if you tell them which lane they need to be in. Equally, if you see a vehicle that they may not have noticed, tell them. However, if the driver does something to endanger you or other road users, react in a firm but calm way. Tight spots can arise and for passengers this is the real test as you have no control over the car. The one thing not to do is gasp, shout and swear. Best advice: if you can’t say anything helpful, don’t say anything at all.

Pick your passenger

As a new driver you’ll have to take a passenger of your own age for the first time at some point. Just remember that driving with your instructor doesn’t prepare you for chatting with a mate and driving, so your first passengers can help by being quiet and not encouraging you to drive in a way you don’t want to.

Best advice: build up, starting with one responsible friend before carrying multiple passengers.

Again, you’ll probably have kids or a pet as passengers at some point and they are a distraction, so it’s best to wait a while until you are 100% confident. If you do have to drive a child or animal somewhere, remember they’re unpredictable. Make sure they’re securely settled and if in doubt how to do this check online for regulations.