Rules for riding shotgun proper road trip etiquette

Being a good passenger in someone's car is equally important as being a good driver. This is especially true for long road trips. Why might being a good passenger be so important? Other than simply showing respect for another person's car, being a good passenger helps the driver remain focused on the road and a few other benefits. Let's go over those benefits below.



  1. Drowsiness: In most cases, it's usually better to stay awake if you are the passenger, in order to help with directions, offer assistance and keep good company for the driver. If you are on the road at night, it's crucial to stay awake and talk to the driver to make sure that he/she stays awake as well. Driving while drowsy presents its own dangers, and you as the passenger can be on the lookout for rest areas. 
  2. Air Conditioner: Everyone has his or her own preference when it comes to the temperature in the car. As the passenger, it's important to be respectful of the AC conditions, even if they are unfavorable. If you are too uncomfortable with the temperature in the car, it's better to ask to adust the AC, rather than just doing it yourself without permission. 
  3. Armest: Ever been in a situation where one person is constantly hogging the armrest on an airplane? Unfortunately, that situation tends to happen in the car as well. It generally is the more polite thing to let the driver have the armrest, unless he/she offers it to you. In a similar situation, it's polite not to take up both cup holders as well.  
  4. Music: You may be tempted to listen to your own type of music, or not be too enthralled with what's playing. Going back to the polite factor of the situation, it's best not to randomly change the music without asking the driver. It's essential to remember that you are getting a free ride at the end of the day. If you want to hear a certain song, the best action is to ask the driver for permission for a song request. 
  5. Assistance: It's always good practice to be ready to offer assistance when needed for the driver. You never know when your driver may get lost or need GPS assistance. It's a good idea to try and keep your phone charged at all times. Most cars nowadays have a USB port to charge devices. Should you find yourself in a vehicle where there aren't any charging ports available, try to familiarize yourself with the route being taken. You never know when you might need that information. 


For the most part, being a good passenger comes down to being polite and having respect for the driver's vehicle. Implementing these tips will ensure that both you and the driver will have the best driving experience. For more resources and articles, CLICK HERE.

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Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.