Do you have a backseat driver in your life? Maybe it's your spouse, or a friend, or your parent; whoever it is, we can all agree that backseat driving is not only extremely irritating, it can be downright dangerous to you and your passengers. Rather than being productive and positive advice for the driver, backseat driving can actually increase your risk of an accident. But there are ways that you can approach this problem that doesn't end in an argument. Just try these six polite ways to deal with a backseat driver:
1.Inform them of the risks of backseat driving.
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 motorists, 14 percent reported having had an accident or near miss because they were distracted by a backseat driver, and 51 percent have gotten angry behind the wheel as a result of backseat drivers. Passengers can distract the driver from the task at hand, and backseat drivers, although they may think they are helping, are just another distraction to the person who is really behind the wheel. Since the goal of the backseat driver is usually to get you to drive more safely, let them know that their comments are taking your mind off the road and could ultimately lead to more reckless driving.
2. Calmly express how they are making you feel.
The constant comments of a backseat driver can be truly infuriating- but don't let your emotions get the best of you when responding to their critiques. They are usually acting out of anxiety, so it's important to remain cool and collected so as not to escalate the situation more. Take a deep breath, acknowledge their concerns, and tell them how their criticisms are negatively affecting your mood, and potentially your ability to drive.
3. Ditch your reckless driving habits.
Many backseat drivers are operating out of fear. Maybe they have been in a serious accident, or they are scared of cars and driving in general. They feel powerless that if anything bad should happen, they won't be able to fix it. So, assuage their fears by being the safest driver you can be. Think "defensive" and not "aggressive." If you're following all traffic laws and proceeding with caution, it will give your backseat driver less to critique, and a greater sense of ease while in your car.
4. Give them an outlet for their need to be in control.
Backseat driving really is an issue of power and control. While it can emanate out of fear, it can also be motivated by feelings of confidence. Many backseat drivers think they are positively influencing the situation by sharing their wisdom and expertise with you. This kind of personality is always more comfortable being in charge than being in the passenger seat, so give them something to be in charge of. You could ask them to look up directions and navigate, be the DJ and choose the music, or research restaurants and coffee shops to stop at along the way.
5. Listen to something engaging.
Another strategy to get your backseat driver off of your back is the distract them. Podcasts and audiobooks are especially good for this, because you have to be an active listener (and not talk over them), otherwise you'll miss important information. Music can be a good option as well.
6. Avoid driving the passenger altogether.
While this may not be the most ideal solution, if you have tried other approaches and you're just not getting through to the backseat driver (or if they just can't help themselves), you may need to stop driving this person. If you're able to give up control (and not be a backseat driver yourself!), maybe you just let your passenger have what they really want, and put them in the driver's seat.
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