Dealing with Distractions from Backseat Drivers

Having someone in the vehicle to keep company is always welcomed especially in long trips. They can keep you awake with light conversation, change the radio station and manage the air conditioning. This quickly turns into a real sore point if your companion tries to drive the automobile from back or passenger seat. They can quickly start getting on nerves and affect performance behind the steering wheel.

What is a Backseat Driver and Reasons?

It is a person who tries to control how a car is operated while he/she is sitting on the passenger or backseat. They keep warning and telling what to do. They ask to keep distance, slow down, check the exits and give directions. Sometimes they can take it too far as to criticize or comment on every action taken. Not many people like to have a running commentary about it and therefore it can be pretty unsettling to have such a person in a vehicle. This can quickly turn into bickering that has its own problems all together. It is easy to lose the peace within the vehicle but hard to restore it.

According to some psychotherapists the backseat drivers may be anxious about their safety. They may have seen some dangerous behaviors from the person on the steering wheel before or during this journey. Nervousness can manifest in the form of criticism and attempt to control the vehicle somehow. Sometimes, this may just be a bad habit a person is keeping. Actually, they may believe that they are helping.

Problems with Backseat Drivers

backseat driverMost motorists wouldn’t want a second person in the automobile who keeps criticizing how they do and offer advises as to how to sit, steer, change gear and handle the road. These criticisms work when the motorist recognizes the authority of the person offering them and willing to accept it as if it comes from an instructor. Otherwise, he/she will be annoyed, distracted and probably argue with the person interfering.

This point has been proved by a study carried out by Carnegie Mellon University. The study carried out in virtual environment showed that drivers’ abilities have been negatively affected especially when it comes to curves. Also, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration talking with the motorist while you are at the backseat is a distraction. You probably knew that it isn’t cool anyway.

Distractions of any sort will reduce road concentration and increase the chance of accidents. After several accidents you can forget about cheap auto insurance and prepare for doubling premiums. You can read here how much does insurance go up after an accident? Add the pain, suffering and wasted time dealing with the claims and you will see how the costs will rise. In addition, it can strain relations even between couples who are getting along fine otherwise.

The Worst Backseat Drivers

Another study carried out by asked people who they think is the worst. There is not much surprise there that 40% of men said it was their wives and 34% of women said it was their husbands. The next group in the order was mothers. You can imagine the accusing looks and pointing fingers between spouses.

Top offences were; commenting on the speed with 47%, giving directions with 29%, talking too much with 19% and stepping on an imaginary brake with 15%. We have all seen these behaviors from our loved ones at some stage and know that it doesn’t really help our mood.

How to Handle a Backseat Driver

Signs of an anxious passenger are; keep telling to mind the truck, keep a wider distance and slow down. Losing the plot and arguing with them is not going to help anybody. How are you likely to persuade someone who probably believes to be of great help?

You need to do things that will take their mind off worries they have. You should tell or show them that you don’t need help and keep them engaged. Here are a few things you could do to reduce the interference from passengers.

  1. Look at your actions and consider that you made them uneasy. Stay calm and avoid things like aggressive overtaking or speeding. If you made them uncomfortable you cannot blame them.
  2. Thanks God for GPS. It eliminates many arguments about wrong directions and turns. You can also blame GPS when you took the wrong route instead of map reader. Even you know the way turn on the navigation to show them that you won’t be lost and you don’t need them watch the road for you.
  3. Turn on the radio to something they may like. This will relax them a bit and they will probably leave you alone. Alternatively, you can make sure that they take favorite gadgets to be occupied during the journey.
  4. Ask the other passengers engage in conversation with the nervous Nellie. If they strike a conversation between themselves they may leave you alone.
  5. Gently tell them that they aren’t helping and it is safer if only one of you is in control. Remember not to push buttons because it can quickly escalate and you get blamed for all sorts of things.
  6. Handover the duties. It is more likely that your partner would be the one to complain about it and she/he would be insured to drive the car. Offering the option to swap places may solve the problem as long as you don’t now become one.
  7. Plan ahead the long journeys together. Needing a break or not knowing when they will have one can agitate passengers. If they know where they are, what they will see on the road and when they will stop for lunch can set their mind at ease. Taking short breaks can be distraction from boredom as well.

Interferences come in many forms and you need to find a way to deal with them. Arguing with passengers instead of paying attention to the road in front doesn’t help. It is best that you deal with possible issues well ahead of a trip. Furthermore, don’t get worked out if someone pass a comment on your motoring skills.