It’s bad enough for a young driver to be distracted by talking on the phone, texting, or messing with the car stereo while driving. But having loud, rowdy passengers further endangers everyone in the vehicle – and on the road.
Passengers can be a distraction to a young, inexperienced driver and their presence increases the risk for an accident. They share a responsibility for keeping everyone safe, says Dr. Alexandra Roche, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician.
Being a good passenger means limiting loud conversations and excessive movement as not to spook or distract the driver, Dr. Roche says. Don’t encourage drivers to move faster or race another car.
“If friends are talking, then the music should not be on,” Dr. Roche says.
Parents should talk to their teens about their behavior as passengers, and remind their teens that if they feel uncomfortable as a passenger, they should call their parents.
Dr. Roche noted other factors that can impair someone’s driving ability:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter cold medicines
- Cigarettes (the smoke and ash can be an irritant and someone could get burned)
“Becoming a good driver takes years of experience, so build up slowly,” Dr. Roche says. “Help your teens to remember all the risks associated with driving. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”