As a new driver, people are always telling you about the distractions on the road. They tell you to watch for other cars and pedestrians and to obey the street signs and lights. You are told over and over to put your phone away so you can concentrate—but what no tells you is how you can become a distraction to other driver when you’re the passenger.

Now that you have your driver’s license, you feel empowered, and you may feel the need to pass on your new-found wisdom to others. That’s fine, but not while they’re driving. An argument in a car is the last you thing you want.

Common ways to irritate the driver:

  • Tell them the route you would take
  • Indicate obvious things like when the light is green or red
  • Interfere in the driver’s area
  • Ask repeatedly about the car’s safetly features
  • Nag about the driver’s speed, asking for directions, etc.

How to Drop the Backseat Driver Habit

You may wonder why you’ve become a backseat driver. According to CAA, 80% of collisions have driver inattention as a contributing factor. People who have been in a minor or major accident develop the fear of being in another accident. They’re nervous and feel they need to control everything in the car, even when they’re not the one driving. Boredom

If you’ve become a backseat driver, here are a few things to change that:

  • Talk about your day (or anything pleasant!)
  • Look out the window at the scenery
  • Listen to music
  • Read

In becoming a backseat driver, you are showing the driver that you don’t trust them to get you safely to your destination. You end up stressing the driver out and reducing their concentration. Think about how upset you used to get when Dad would tell you how to drive “the right way”.

If you’re concerned because the person you’re driving with has a bad record, talk to them about it and let them know about your anxiety.  Ask them about their style of driving, like if they mind the radio playing or if they’re okay with chit chatting. Remember to discuss these things before setting out on your long road trip!

It’s a good idea to plan out your trip with details such as which route you’ll take and what stops you’ll make so they won’t become an issue on the open road. You may be a good driver, but that doesn’t mean you are the only one. Respecting your driver is part of being safe.

Contact the professional drivers at Ambitious Drivers for more information on how you can be a better driver, or book a refresher course!