Summer is the time for road trips -- which means lots of driving with lots of passengers.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to be a good passenger -- and bad passengers can end up distracting the driver and causing an accident.
In order to make your next road trip safer, here's how to be the best possible passenger:
1. Help the driver stay off the phone.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that texting while driving is a major cause of distracted driving.
If you're in the front passenger seat, volunteer to handle any texts that come in if your driver absolutely has to have the phone on while driving.
2. Wear layers and bring a blanket.
Let's face it: the odds of everyone in the car being air conditioning-compatible are miniscule, so the driver gets to pick the temperature for the car. Everyone else should be prepared to take off a layer or two of clothing or cover up in case they get chilled easily because battles over the temperature control are distracting.
3. Help keep the driver alert and oriented.
Unless you are completely exhausted, stay awake and keep the driver alert -- especially if you're in the front passenger seat. It's your job to help the driver navigate, so read the GPS for him or her and keep an eye out for lane changes, rest stops and sudden problems ahead.
4. Don't touch the radio or playlist.
If your driver is into classical music and you're more of a Top 20's fan, sit back and try to find something to appreciate about the driver's choice of tunes. If you start fiddling with the radio or scanning the iPod playlist, you're going to aggravate and distract the driver at the same time.
5. Ask the driver to park while eating.
Eating while driving is another problem behavior that can lead to distracted driving and accidents. If you make a pit stop for food, ask the driver if he or she minds going inside the restaurant or at least parking in the lot to eat. Blame it on your own inability to eat in a moving vehicle, if necessary.
If you are in an accident due to distracted driving this summer, don't hesitate to contact an attorney. You may need representation in order to get fair compensation for your injuries.
Source: Komando.com, "Ways to avoid the temptation of distracted driving," Amanda Kosser, Komando.com, June 15, 2017