The Polite Passenger
When you are riding with others, there are several manners that will help keep everyone safer.
While your mother may not hesitate to ask you to settle down or be quiet when she needs to concentrate, your friend may be reluctant to ask you to be a polite passenger. You need to take control of yourself, pay attention to what is going on around you, and be considerate of you friend who is driving.
- Safety first. Always buckle up; don't make your friend have to ask you. Keep the volume on your music to a reasonable level. Keep your arms, head, legs, and other body parts inside any moving vehicle.
- The driver must have full control. Do not attempt to hold the steering wheel, turn on the windshield wipers, shift, or put on the brake even if the driver asks you to. Those are his responsibilities.
- Don't abuse the driver's car privileges. Don't ask or expect the driver to bend or break her rules. If she is expected to be home before dark, honor that expectation, and don't ask, tease, beg, or demand favors that violate her curfew or restrictions.
- Offer to pay for gasoline. The offer to pay is not expected when you're on a date or if you're an infrequent rider, but if you ride often with your friend or depend on her for regular transportation, do offer to pay so she does not need to ask.
- Don't litter insider the car or out. Clean up any messes. This can include offering to help pay for a trip through a car wash with a vacuuming included. Don't throw trash from the car or leave litter in someone else's car.
- Be considerate of other drivers and pedestrians. Avoid yelling, whistling, and other behavior that can distract people and cause accidents.
Heads Up: The Difference between a Helpful Passenger and a Pain in the Butt
When you're a passenger in a car and you indicate something to look out for in the road, such as a car that's pulling out of a driveway or side street or suddenly changing lanes, you're being helpful. When you comment on someone's driving, however: "Why did you turn your blinker on so early?" or "You so could have passed him back there," or "If you'd taken Dorset we'd be there by now," you're being a pain in the butt. Before you make a comment to the driver, consider whether your comment will truly be helpful - or whether you're butting in unnecessarily.