The unspoken rules of car etiquette that come into play when you’re the passenger sharing a ride!
Whether setting off for a jaunt across the middle of America or simply on a work trip up the A1, it’s important to recognise the hidden hierarchy that exists when it comes to car journey etiquette.
After all, as a passenger, you are the beneficiary – the grateful recipient of an act of charity that, whilst positioning you in the most dangerous seat in the car, does entitle you to a chauffeur-esque ride to a specified destination.
The cost, as a passenger, is an inability to affect many of the in-car conditions, as our ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek list outlines.
ONE: Route 66
You may be equipped with satellite navigation; you may have intense insider knowledge as to local shortcuts; you may even own a field that can be driven across in a perfect ‘as the crow flies’ straight line. Yet ultimately, the driver will decide the route, even if that’s one that bears little resemblance to common sense; and question him or her at your peril!
TWO: Speed freak?
Only the driver has the option to apply pressure or ease off on the accelerator. While most of us fill the middle ground of speed, you may find yourself hitching a lift off Captain Slow on the one hand, or Lewis Hamilton on the other. Once the engine’s running, you’ve just got to go with the flow.
THREE: Driver DJ
From the minute you leave to the second you arrive, the soundtrack of your journey is deemed to be in the hands of the person behind the wheel.
If, by way of a rare token of driver generosity, you are graced with the opportunity to “put something else on”, choose decisively and wisely!
FOUR: The heat is rising
In the same theme, it’s a confident – and possibly rude – passenger who starts messing with a car’s climate control. Sit tight and sweat it out… it’s still better than walking!
FIVE: It’s a car, not a bin
One for the kids – whether chocolate bar wrappers, football cards, Happy Meal toys or poorly mopped up orange squash, there is nothing that angers a driver more than finding his or her car resembling a bin lorry at the end of a long trip.
A good passenger will clear up not just their own footwell but any loose bits of rubbish from the back seats.
SIX: Free petrol!
Contributing towards fuel is usually something that’s laid out before a journey starts, but if this hasn’t been discussed and you find yourself pulling up at a pump, it’s usually polite to offer… particularly considering what’s happened with prices this year.
SEVEN: The feet treat
Your pinkies should always be kept out of sight. Raising them to the height of the dashboard – and leaving them there – is a one-way ticket to taking the bus next time.
EIGHT: Thanks for the ride
Finally, gratitude costs nothing and even a simple ‘thank you’ to the driver will make him or her feel that much better about themselves after suffering half an hour of you bemoaning Manchester United’s recent woes.