Passenger Etiquette – Say No to Backseat Driving

Published on: 25 March 2015

Affordable insurance is your best ally on long distance car journeys, however, insurance coverage cannot control the passengers that are in your car. Passenger etiquette is not the first thing that we think of when we climb into a vehicle; however, it is something that we need to take into consideration to ensure a safe journey.

Car trips encourage chitchat, blaring sing-a-long music and games that help when it comes to passing the time. As much fun as this all sounds, it can distract the driver and result in a handful of safety hazards. And, as we well know, car insurance relies on responsible and focussed driving. Before embarking on your journey, ensure that you ask your passengers to take a peek at what is considered suitable passenger etiquette. Not only will this keep your passengers secure, it will also guarantee that you are not distracted during your trip.

Encourage Polite and Gracious Behaviour

Whether you’re embarking on a journey with your children, family members or friends, it is always important to be polite and gracious. Keep in mind that you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle and your safety lies in their hands. Be responsible and wear your seat belt, ask whether it is appropriate to eat in the car and be aware of your fellow passengers. Avoid commenting on the driver’s decisions – this will ensure that there is no backseat driving. Not only is it a challenge to remain focussed during the trip, it can also work on the driver’s nerves.

If you happen to be the driver, always remember that:

  • Using your cell phone, reckless driving and taking chances can leave your passengers feeling anxious. Avoid unnecessary tension and potential back-seat driving by being cautious and responsible;
  • Check in with your passengers – would they like to stop, do they need some fresh air, would they like to stretch their legs? Communicating with your passengers, especially children, will avoid any fidgeting with controls or buttons and nagging.

If you are travelling with children, encourage them to play little games that are not distracting, or play an audio book which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Ensure that they are buckled-up and that the doors and electronics are sufficiently locked with the ‘child lock’ function.

Avoid Intruding on People’s Personal Space

When travelling in someone’s car, it is important to remember that you’re in close proximity to other passengers, and there are people who value their personal space. Limited leg room and arm rest space can lead to conflict between children and adults can feel uncomfortable and tense. Try your best to keep your belongings from rolling all over the car and, as tough as it might be to sit still in a confined space, try to keep to your own seat. This will avoid any tension with other passengers and avoid any conflict or distraction that the driver may have to deal with.

If you happen to be travelling with children, car seats are the best option when avoiding space spats. Ensure that you pack an adequate amount of pillows, blankets and toys to ensure that they do not fight during the long drive.

Engage in Thoughtful, Sparing Conversation

Vehicle insurance is a wonderful safety net, as long as the car owner holds up their side of the deal, and that is to be cautious and responsible at all times. Long conversations can be tempting on long journeys, especially when you travelling with familiar faces. However, try to avoid conversation that can distract or upset the driver. Engage in thoughtful conversation but spare a thought for the person who needs to concentrate, especially when faced with heavy traffic or unpredictable weather conditions.

Although a road trip may seem like the ideal social activity, it is better to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Ensure that everyone has a pleasant and safe journey by encouraging behaviour that does not distract or upset the driver. Say ‘no’ to backseat driving and you’re guaranteed to have a safe and enjoyable drive.

As you prepare to embark on your journey, ensure that you are covered with reliable car insurance. Contact MiWay for information regarding various vehicle insurance options.

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