With the increasing number of cars on the road and traffic accidents, it’s important that both drivers and passengers follow the rules, be courteous of one another and always keep in mind safety. In doing so, deaths and personal injury claims, such as whiplash compensation, will be less commonplace.
Even if you are not the driver, your safety and that of others should be your first priority. Do not get in a car if the driver has been drinking or taking drugs. A driver’s negligence and inability to drive properly puts your life at risk. Don’t ride in a vehicle if there are not enough seats for every person. Not having enough space and proper restraints can increase the risk of suffering severe injuries in an accident. Always wear your seatbelt and ensure children are secured into age-appropriate safety seats and that they are installed correctly. Even if it is not your car, never let children ride in the front seat.
Every driver is different. For some, driving is second nature. They react when appropriate, follow all the regulations and are comfortable having passengers in the car. Others may be more nervous and fearful of driving. The stress and anxiety they feel can be exacerbated when there are people in the car. Resist the temptation to be a backseat driver. Your remarks and motions can be an annoyance and may be a distraction to the driver. Do not criticise the driver and say anything that could cause more anxiety or detract their attention from the road. However, you should speak up if the driver is speeding excessively, driving dangerously or do anything that is unsafe. You may ask them to stop the behavior or ask to get out of the car.
Try your best not to distract the driver. Refrain from excessive movements, horseplay and shouting. Do not show the driver images on the phone or encourage any kind of misconduct. It is also polite to ask if it is alright to smoke or talk on the phone. Driving requires complete focus. If the driver needs help with directions offer your assistance.
If you are in an accident, follow the same guidelines you would as a driver. Check to make sure the driver and other travellers involved are alright. Call the police if there are injuries suspected. Exchange contact information of the driver and any witnesses and take pictures to document the accident. No matter the circumstance, do not admit to any guilt or speak on behalf of the driver. Even if you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic offense, do not speak unless you are directed to do so.
Paul Langley is a car enthusiast and social writer