10 Ways to Be a Good Passenger

By Lesley Green
Happy Couple in Car
  • Passengers in vehicles have two responsibilities: to avoid distracting the driver, and to help the driver avoid other distractions.
  • A ticket for distracted driving (considered a major ticket) could increase your auto insurance premium by as much as 25%.
  • An at-fault collision could increase your premium by as much as 25%.

We're all taught how to be good drivers, but what about how to be good passengers? Passengers in vehicles have two responsibilities: to avoid distracting the driver and to help the driver avoid other distractions. Everyone in the vehicle needs to work together to limit distractions, and we can all start by being better passengers.

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Tips for being a good passenger

  1. Speak up – If your driver starts engaging in distracted driving behaviours such as texting, making phone calls, or looking behind them to talk to passengers in the back seat, kindly remind them to pay attention to the road.
  2. Lay low – Don’t show your driver things on your phone and avoid your own distracting behaviours that could detract their attention from the road. For example, do your best to avoid an argument or a disagreement with your driver. An emotional driver is not a focused driver.
  3. Stay alert – Give your driver a second set of eyes by paying attention to what's going on in and around the vehicle. However, that does not mean you have carte blanche to be a backseat driver; limit your feedback to only the most important details.
  4. Be the designated DJ – Flipping through songs is still a big distraction for drivers. Help your driver out by taking responsibility for the tunes. For optimal results, set it [on shuffle, a playlist, or a station] and forget it.
  5. Navigate – If your driver gets lost or doesn't know the route, take charge of the situation and set the GPS for them.
  6. Take turns drivingDriver fatigue is a dangerous thing. If you're going on a long journey, plan for multiple drivers to take turns driving.
  7. Stay out of the way – Don't let your body physically block your driver from being able to see the road or out the windows.
  8. Listen to the driver – If the driver doesn't want the music blasting, then don't blast the music! Listening to the driver's wishes will help them stay calm and intent on the task at hand.
  9. Use your indoor voice – Having loud conversations with other passengers or on the phone could distract your driver's attention away from the road.
  10. Buckle up – One of the best ways to protect yourself as a passenger and respect your driver is to buckle up.

While these tips only scratch the surface of how to be a better passenger, they play a key role in helping to limit distractions inside vehicles and on the road. And, while it is safety that drives the need to be a better passenger, there are financial benefits too.

A ticket for distracted driving (considered a major ticket) could increase your driver’s auto insurance premium by as much as 25%, and the same is true for an at-fault collision. And, if the collision is due to their driving distracted, it’s also possible they’ll be looking at a ticket for careless driving. Together, the ticket(s) and the collision will likely land them in the high-risk to insure category for at least three years, and that’s when auto insurance gets expensive.

It doesn’t matter the reason why. Driving distracted is never worth the risk.