A Good Passenger Can Help Avoid Car Accidents

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When an experienced driver is suddenly a passenger in a car, it's easy for them to forget the challenges of safe driving and leave all the cares to the driver. But did you know that, as a passenger, you can help your driver avoid car accidents and safely deliver you both to your destination? Here's how.

Tips for being a good passenger

1. Create a calm atmosphere.
Drivers need to focus on road conditions, and you can help by maintaining a calm presence. Loud conversations or arguments can distract your driver.

2. Wear your seatbelt.
California requires you to wear a seat belt unless you have a letter from a doctor that excuses you from complying with the law. Wearing a seat belt can save your life in car accidents, and failing to wear one can result in a fine if you are at least 16 years old.

3. Limit your comments.
As a passenger, you may offer helpful advice occasionally, but criticism can cause a dangerous distraction. Seeing a roadway hazard that the driver has not noted may provide a reason to alert them, but save any criticisms of a minor mistake until later.

4. Observe cell phone etiquette.
Even though you may overhear personal conversations in public, you know that they make you uncomfortable. Space inside an automobile is much too small for you to comfortably conduct a private conversation, and your driver and fellow passengers prefer not to hear it.

5. Take charge of texting.
You can help your driver maintain focus on the road and obey the law by offering to reply to important text messages. Ask your driver to let you take charge of monitoring incoming text so that nothing creates a distraction.

6. Assume co-pilot duties.
Your risk as a passenger is the same as the driver’s, and both of you can take steps to ensure your safety. Offer to adjust the sound system or the air conditioner and help the driver avoid looking at the controls, but make changes only when necessary. You can help by searching for something in the console or on the floor when the driver needs it. A few seconds of inattention to the road ahead can result in a rear end collision.