Drivers can get distracted in many ways. For example, composing a text, taking a swig of soda, or adjusting dashboard controls like the air conditioning or heat. Your passengers – adults, kids or even pets – can also divert your attention from the road.
Rambunctious, noisy or fidgety passengers are a potential hazard. Turning around to “shush” rear-seat passengers, whether they are adult friends or youngsters, is a very bad idea. During that instant when you avert your eyes from the road, your vehicle is still moving forward. You could hit a child running into your car’s path, an adult crossing the street or another vehicle.
All it takes is one person acting up to unwittingly set the stage for an accident by interfering with the driver’s concentration. Teenage drivers are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon due to a lack of experience behind the wheel.
How else can people in the vehicle be a disruption?
There are quite a few ways that your passengers can be a problem. Here are some of them:
- Bothering you to taste what they are eating
- Starting a conversation about a controversial subject that disturbs you
- Being overly loud or cranking up the volume of the radio
- Urging you to notice something like a billboard
What can you do to ward off distractions?
When traveling with an animal, make sure it is in a suitable pet carrier or is secured by some other means. Have things for children to occupy themselves like games or books. If one or more of your passengers gets unruly, stop your vehicle in a safe place and firmly instruct them to behave appropriately. It can be unpleasant to confront or warn someone, but your safety and that of others in a vehicle are paramount.
Stick to the rules when you drive with passengers
Let anyone who shares a vehicle with you know what your expectations are. Enforce the rules at all times. If another driver causes a crash that injures you because they could not handle a disruptive passenger, you may have some legal options.