So you’re cruising to the mall with your best friend and suddenly the car jerks into another lane. You look over from your Facebook post and realize he’s not paying attention because his favorite song just came on and he’s playing air guitar. What do you do? Yell at him? Grab the wheel? Punch him?
Actually, none of these are suggested. Over-reacting in a dangerous situation can make it worse by causing the driver to over-correct the vehicle. What you should do is get the driver’s attention quickly, but not in a way that may make them nervous or anxious.
Being a good passenger is more than relaxing and enjoying the ride, it’s also being an active passenger by helping the driver watch and listen.
- Turn your head and lean back if the driver is trying to see past you.
- Pay closer attention when there are other people in the car. More passengers mean more distractions. Lower your voices, keep the music at a reasonable level and help the driver see what’s going on.
- Stay awake on long journeys and at night. This will help the driver also stay awake and pay attention to the road.
- Hang up the phone. Your conversation can be distracting to the driver and cause them to zone out.
- Buckle up! If there are other passengers, make sure they buckle up too.
- If you know your friend has had even one drink, offer to drive, take their keys or call a parent. An angry friend is better than a dead friend. And, whatever you do, don’t get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs.
Read about the major dangers of teen driving>