Regardless of new measures implemented every year to try and make roads safer, US roadways continue to become more dangerous, with an accident happening about every four seconds. You may wonder what’s making the roads so unsafe, regardless of the efforts to change that. The problem is human behavior. People are not driving safely.
When you look at distracted driving, it has become one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the country, and yet, it’s completely avoidable. As a passenger, you may think that you don’t have much power over what the driver does, but that’s not the case. You can play a huge part in doing away with distracted driving. Here are things you can do to protect yourself and others against distracted driving when you’re a passenger:
Staying silent when you see something wrong happening won’t do you or anyone any good. If the driver isn’t paying attention on the road, they risk your life, theirs, and those of other road users. That isn’t something you want to keep silent about. Speak up and let the driver know that they are driving recklessly. Your words could be the only thing standing between safety and disaster.
If you’re sitting in a car with a friend, and they want to check something on their phone or text someone and drive at the same time, offer to help. Take over the texting or looking up stuff for the driver. Remember, texting and driving is a common practice, and your friend may do it without much thought. Letting them know you can help is a polite reminder that they need to pay attention to the road.
You should offer to help even if the driver isn’t someone you know because safety comes first. They’ll appreciate it, but even if they don’t let you, they’ll at least get the message that you’re uncomfortable with the behavior.
Watch the Road
While you want the driver to be careful on the wheel, it’s important that you also take the initiative to promote safe driving by paying attention as well. You want to watch the road and take note of everything happening around you the same way you would if you were the one driving. Doing this allows you to catch anything the driver misses and alert them promptly. Keep in mind that you also have a responsibility, and assisting the driver to stay alert will limit distractedness.
Don’t Make Things Worse
Did you know that passengers usually contribute to the driver’s distractedness? If you want to protect yourself against distracted driving, then don’t add to the problem. Be moderate with your conversations, and end the conversation if you feel like the driver is losing concentration.
There are things people do inside vehicles thinking they are harmless, but they contribute to distracting the driver. Fiddling with radio stations, singing, and long phone calls can be distracting.
Ask Them to Stop
Some people are stubborn and wouldn’t want to hear what you have to say. If the driver isn’t paying attention to their driving and doesn’t seem to respond to your warnings, ask them to stop.
It’s not your responsibility to control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction. Ask the driver to stop the vehicle because you’re uncomfortable with their driving abilities. Your safety is your sole responsibility, and if it means removing yourself from the risky environment, then don’t hesitate. Protect yourself by getting out of the unsafe vehicle.
Alert the Authorities
When someone is endangering your life and the lives of other road users and speaking up isn’t helping, consider alerting the authorities. Usually, when the driver is someone you know, they’ll be willing to listen. If it’s public transport or cab service, you may encounter reckless drivers unresponsive to your concerns. In such instances, getting out doesn’t stop the driver from endangering other passengers’ lives.
As a passenger, you should do everything you can to ensure the driver is driving safely. If they’re being distracted, inform them politely about the dangers. However, being blunt about things is totally fine when it comes to safety. Caution the stubborn driver about the consequences of causing a crash. Besides jail time, causing injuries or death could lead to legal suits. JT Legal Group has more on that.
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