My first, and as yet, only car.
However, just because I try to stay out of the driver's seat as much as possible doesn't mean that I can't have any impact on the choices that the person who is driving my car makes. Distracted driving is an all-too common factor in car crashes--these crashes could often be prevented if drivers are willing to decide to drive by keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
But what impact can you have on a driver's behavior when you're a passenger? Quite a bit, actually. When you're a passenger, you can use that opportunity to encourage the person driving the car to make good decisions, avoid multi-tasking, and pay attention to what's happening on the road.
When I was in high school, I got rides everywhere from my friends. This was pre-smartphones, but it wasn't pre-texting, and quite frequently my friends would get out their phones to text others while they drove. I was never ashamed to speak up when I saw them try to multitask this way: "You have precious cargo in this car," I'd say, "No text is worth endangering both of our lives."
I made it clear early on that I wouldn't continue to get rides from people who persisted in texting while driving, and I'd offer to read and respond to texts for the driver so that they could pay attention to the road.
These days, my husband is the primary driver in our family, and I encourage him to stay focused on driving and not getting distracted by always reminding him when we're out and about that we're never in so much of a hurry that we don't have the time to stop in a parking lot and eat food from the drive-thru rather than have him eat while driving. When we're going places we don't know, I manage the GPS and play the role of navigator. If someone calls his cell while we're driving, I'll answer it and give him a message. If he wants to listen to a different cd, I'll change the cd for him.
Driving is a daily activity for most, but it's never worth it to let familiarity with our usual routes lull us into thinking that it's a good idea to multitask and allow ourselves to get distracted while driving. Also, remember, as a passenger, you are not powerless. If the person driving you is driving distracted, don't be afraid to speak up. Offer to take care of other tasks so that they can focus on driving.
The first car I ever rode in--on my way home after being born at the hospital!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.