Monkey see, monkey do
We’ve all come across drivers who scare us when they’re driving. They either go too fast when they shouldn’t or weave in and out of traffic. Sometimes they end up distracting themselves so much that they forget they’re driving. I’ve seen and heard how drivers will reach into the backseat to retrieve something while they’re driving. Do they have an issue about staying focused on driving? Do their passengers distract them? Have you ever thought about what can you do, as a passenger, to help the driver stay focused and drive safely?
One of the things I’ve often said to my students when they’re driving with their friends is to show their friends that they have control over the vehicle and can make safe, logical driving choices. If they do this, their friends will notice what they’re doing over time and may start to drive in the same manner. You know the old saying of “monkey see, monkey do”.
I have a 4 year old nephew who loves my 13 and 10 year old sons. He does what they do and for the most part, it’s fun to watch them. If they run, he runs. If they wrestle, he wrestles. Driving can be seen the same way. If you have a friend that doesn’t pay enough attention to their driving, let them sit in the front passenger seat while you’re driving through heavy traffic. Don’t say anything to them; let them watch you drive through the difficult situations. Once you’ve reached your destination, ask them how they felt about the ride. If they say you drove well, explain to them what you did differently, compared to when they drove. Perhaps it will shed some light on their driving.
The other thing you can do as a passenger is to turn your cell phone ringer off when they’re driving. Leave it on vibrate so the sound won’t distract the driver. Avoid having a vivid conversation with other passengers so the driver isn’t thinking about the conversation. Keep the conversations to a minimum and if there’s more than one person in the backseat, try to keep the conversation to just those in the backseat. It’s sometimes difficult to hear what’s being said from the back when you’re in the front.
We can all help our friends become good drivers, even without providing verbal instructions. Try to be a positive role model to them, even as a passenger.