Carpooling and ride-sharing are popular -- and highly encouraged -- options when it comes to cutting costs and protecting the environment. However, while riding with passengers does have its benefits, it also comes with risks.
According to one study, having passengers increases a driver's risk of getting into an accident. In fact, driving with at least two other people doubles the risk of the driver getting into a serious accident. Thankfully, there are steps drivers and passengers can take to avoid a crash and stay safe.
As a passenger
When riding with someone else, you should:
- Be respectful
- Avoid disruptive behaviors like getting in fights or roughhousing
- Wear your seat belt and stay in your seat
- Keep your voice and music at a reasonable volume
- Alert the driver to potential hazards and directional information, but avoid being critical, overly helpful or panicky
- Offer to help with navigation or to manage the driver's phone to eliminate such distractions
- Refrain from trying to get the driver to engage in unsafe or unwise decisions
Essentially, as a passenger, you should prioritize calmness and a distraction-free ride. Parents should also be sure to discuss these measures with teens and young children to help them understand the importance of behaving well as a passenger.
As a driver
Whether you are driving a car full of your friends or working for a ride-sharing company, you can take the following steps to avoid a crash with passengers:
- Focus on the road; the activities or conversations in the car are secondary
- Make sure everyone is safely buckled in and secured, including children and pets
- Keep music volume at a reasonable level
- Pull over to pick up a dropped toy or attempt to clean up a mess
- Don't engage in dangerous behaviors just because your passengers think you should
- Put your phone away or give it to someone else
- Explain any rules or requests you have with passengers before setting off on a trip
Whether you are a driver or a passenger, you have the power to prevent serious motor vehicle accidents. Being responsible, respectful and alert can help everyone get to where they're going safely.