Are you a ‘backseat driver’?

June 7, 2018

Does the passenger in your car snort when you make a left-hand turn, complain that you are speeding, and stomp on an imaginary brake when you get too close to the car ahead of you? Those are just a few of the signs that you are on the road with a backseat driver, based on findings of a poll sponsored by Accident Advice Helpline and released on June 6..   ,.

In a study of 2,000 British motorists, conducted on behalf of the help line by OnePoll,  fully 70% said that there is nobody more annoying than a passenger who frequently displays over-the-top emotions, or offers unwanted ‘help’ or advice.

The top 20 list of annoyances comprises the following:

  1. .Criticizing the driver’s decisions;
  2. Complaining about the speed at which he or she is driving;
  3. Gasping loudly at any slight braking movement;
  4. Flinching when the car is “too close” to another vehicle or obstacle;
  5. Complaining about driving too slowly;
  6. Pointing out when to turn off or onto a road at a junction;
  7. Pressing an imaginary brake pedal;
  8. Advising on which lane the driver should be in;
  9. Telling the driver when the traffic lights have changed to green;
  10. Insisting on giving directions;
  11. Changing the radio station;
  12. Swearing at the drivers of other cars;
  13. Gesticulating at others on the road;
  14. Getting full-out road rage;
  15. Waving ‘thanks’ at other drivers for letting you into a lane;
  16. Reading the road signs out load as you pass them;
  17. Changing the in-car temperature;
  18. Holding your hands over your face;
  19. Closing your eyes frequently when someone else is driving; and
  20. Disagreeing with the satellite navigation system.

It should be no surprise that the researchers discovered that significant others are the worst sort of backseat drivers, followed by mom and then dad.

Just under half of those polled have been in an argument with someone in the car due to their interfering comments, and an unfortunate 5% have accidentally jumped a red light while remonstrating with an annoying passenger. What’s more 25% of respondents said they had missed a turning after being distracted; while 7% had endured more serious consequences, such as a collision with a car, cyclist or pedestrian.

David Carter, a spokesperson for Accident Advice Helpline, comments, “Unfortunately, making comments and reacting to what is happening on the road while in the passenger seat can be a big distraction for the person driving. There is a higher risk of an accident or near-miss, if the driver […has to] fend off unhelpful feedback while trying to concentrate on the road.”

Interestingly enough, only 21% of respondents admitted to being backseat drivers, themselves, when driving in someone else’s vehicle.

Research contact:

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