Published on Feb 12, 2016 by Edgar Snyder

7 Things You Need To Do When Riding Shotgun

shotgun rider

Before calling shotgun the next time you go for a long car ride, you should first consider the large responsibility you have as a passenger. Riding in the passenger seat doesn't mean that it's time to sit back and relax. While riding shotgun, it's important to make sure that not only do you not distract the driver, but that you remove potential distractions for them. To help guarantee that you're doing your job correctly, we have created a list of seven things you should do the next time you ride shotgun:

  1. Be the Navigator
  2. By calling shotgun on a long-distance trip, you're implying that you're capable of providing the driver with directions. You need to take charge of the GPS and watch for upcoming exists. As navigator, it's also important to help the driver be aware of things they cannot see in their mirrors by telling them when it's an okay time to switch lanes and make turns. If drivers are looking down at the GPS on their phone, they are distracted and increasing the risk of getting in an accident.

  3. Take Over The Phone
  4. Don't let the driver text or use social media on their phone. Agree to text for them and let them know if they receive a message. Also, try to limit your own phone conversations because your phone calls can distract the driver as well. Whatever the conversation is, it can wait.

  5. Be The DJ
  6. Unless the driver has already picked the tunes by creating a playlist or a CD, it's your duty to control the music. Don't let the driver mess with radio dials or shuffle through their songs, as these are both forms of distracted driving. Keep the music at a reasonable volume because loud, blaring music can distract the driver and prevent them from hearing road traffic.

  7. Provide The Food Services
  8. As the passenger, it's your obligation to unwrap gum, open snacks and unscrew water bottles. It's best if you try not to eat big meals during car rides but if you must, help the driver to do so. And if they want to stop to grab something to eat, be willing to do so.

  9. Don't Be a Backseat Driver Up Front
  10. Don't make unnecessary comments about how your friend or family member is driving because this only adds stress to the driver. However, if they are doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you should speak up. You have to be your own safety advocate.

  11. Stay Awake
  12. During a road trip, passenger riders often think it is okay to put their feet up on the dashboard and take a little snooze. It is not fair to the driver if you sleep since they would probably rather be sleeping too. Make conversation with them to make sure they stay awake. If the driver seems sleepy, encourage them to pull over or stop somewhere to rest. Or, if you are feeling well-rested and the driver is comfortable with you driving their car, you can offer to drive for part of the trip. Taking shifts driving is a smart way to guarantee the person driving is aware and focused.

  13. Don't Touch The AC or Heat
  14. You are the passenger during this car ride so it's your responsibility to ensure the driver always feels comfortable. Some drivers like to keep the car cool during a long, stressful ride so don't touch the dials unless they ask you to.

Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents every year. As a shotgun rider, it is your job to eliminate any distractions during a car ride that could lead to an accident. Remember to always respect the driver and their driving preferences. If you follow these tips to be the best shotgun rider, you are helping to ensure the safety of all the passengers in the car.

Distracted driving accidents are preventable, but we still see the tragic consequences of them every day. If you or a loved one are injured in a distracted driving accident, our attorneys are here to help. If your accident was caused by someone else's mistake, we can help protect you and get you the money you deserve.

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