The signs you're a back-seat driver

11th September 2019

Sudden gasps, stomping on a phantom brake and giving you unwanted instructions – we’ve all come across a backseat driver, but are you actually one yourself? We’ve compiled a list of what we think are the top 5 signs that you’re a backseat driver.

1. Giving unwanted instructions

Some people need to feel a sense of control and a huge outlet for this can be through giving unwanted instructions. This could be advising you what lane you should be in, telling you when to stop even though you’re clearly pressing the brake, advising you to leave a junction when you’ve already seen the gap in oncoming traffic, giving directions in a place you’re already familiar with as well as prompting you to move as soon as the light turns green.

2. Critiquing the driver’s decisions

Ever had someone advising you that you are driving too close to someone or maybe that you shouldn’t have parked in that spot? One of the most infuriating things a backseat driver can do is critique your driving ability or decisions. It could make no difference how safely you drive or even how much experience you have, some people will always believe they are the world’s greatest driver and that you absolutely must have some of their guidance.

3. Dramatically expressing anxiety

There is nothing like the knock in confidence, when someone constantly reacts dramatically to your driving. Whether this is stomping on an imaginary brake, squealing when they feel you’re too close to another car, covering their eyes and gasping at any slight braking movement. It certainly doesn’t help make any situation better.

4. Complaining about speed

You could be abiding by the speed limit, but with a passenger possibly not being able to see your speedo, they could be complaining you’re going too fast. Or maybe they are stating you are driving too slowly, despite you having a reason for your slower speed - whether it’s weather conditions or an approaching hazard.

5. Fiddling around with the car’s controls

You have your car programmed to be on your favourite radio station and preferred temperature, yet passengers can sometimes believe their preference is more important than yours. This is a huge issue if preferences are completely opposite and be can be a cause of some heated ‘carguments’.

How to deal with a back seat driver

What back seat drivers perceive as being helpful advice, could actually be something that increases the risk of an accident - rather than preventing one. If you are the driver in the scenario and have a passenger that frequently critiques your driving, before a journey explain how it makes you feel and how distracting it is. If they understand just how off-putting their actions are, it might inspire them to try and curb the behaviour.

The type of person that is a back seat driver is likely to be someone who likes being in charge. Giving them a task to do whilst on the journey may prove to be a good idea as it gives them less time to comment on your driving. This could be researching where to eat later or finding a good coffee shop to stop at on the way. This should hopefully make the journey easier for the both of you.

If you also plan your trip before your journey, including the route and music choice, it should give you less to disagree about once you’re on the road.

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