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The Power in Passengers


The car you are in has just faced a head-on collision with a car in the opposite lane. You're okay, the car not so much. You might think, “How could the driver have been so reckless?” Which is an understandable thing to be asking yourself, but before you deflect all blame… consider what you as a passenger could have done to ensure safety in the car ride.

Were you eliminating distractions for the driver? This could be controlling the music, reprimanding them for looking at their phone, or pulling up the directions for them.

Were you an active passenger? When you are in the car it is often beneficial to all parties for everyone to keep an active eye on the road and give input on things the driver may have missed. This can be a simple reminder of the speed limit, telling them about an upcoming redlight or crosswalk, or even something as simple as warning them about a pothole in the road. Many are scared of being labeled as a “backseat driver” but it is important for everyone in the car to be aware of all their surroundings to ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely.

The bottom line is, as a passenger you hold more power than you are made to believe. It is the driver's job to ensure a safe trip and arrival at your destination, but as a passenger you should be reinforcing safety habits to the driver. As a passenger, you should feel empowered to speak up. Sometimes it can be hard, embarrassing, or nerve-racking to think about telling your friends that their driving habits are making you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, but your safety overrides uncomfortability any day of the week.

Roadway deaths are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, and this is partly due to passive passengers. SPEAK UP! If not for yourself, do it for your friends in the car. If not for them, do it for the thousands of other people on the road who are trying to have a safe trip to work, school, back home to the family, or wherever it may be. Being a conscientious passenger has just as much impact on the safety of a drive as the driver themselves. Don’t be afraid to use your voice to make an impact.

There is power in passengers.

1/21-1/27 is National Passenger Safety Week. Check out the National Passenger Safety Campaign Tool Kit and resources for learning how to be a safer, more active passenger, and spread the word about the power of passengers.

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1 Comment

Louis Pratt
Louis Pratt
Feb 11

Speak up. It saves lives! Great job, Haley!

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