Summer is finally here! It’s time to bring out the swimsuits, passports, video games, and camping gear. And for millions of college students around the world, it’s time to prepare for your summer road-trip.
Whether you have a long drive back home with a car full of clothes and books, or you plan to do some domestic traveling with friends – a road-trip can be a great experience with the right company. In fact, one of the best indicators of how well your road-trip will go is who you’ve got with you in the passenger seat.
A good road road-trip requires a responsible driver, but a great trip also calls for a passenger who understands the importance of teamwork when you hit the road. So here are the five roles of a good passenger on a great road-trip!
Before the dawn of GPS, road-trippers needed companionship more than ever. They needed one extra person to read the enormous printed maps and provide directions to the driver. These days, we can simply key in an address and let our smart phones do the rest.
But sometimes finding a place to eat in a strange town, or somewhere to bed down for the night might require a bit more research involving price, and close proximity to the highway. Thus, a good passenger knows how to locate these places, and to point the driver in the right direction.
According to the American Automobile Association, distracted driving accounts for anywhere from a quarter to a half of all motor-vehicular accidents. Recently, the focus has been mostly on texting while driving, but there are several other activities people engage in, which distract them on the road.
Eliminate at least one of them by passing the food and drink to the driver, when they need it. Open all packages and containers, unscrew bottles, and open can sodas.
When they’re done eating, be sure to put everything away for them as well. The less time they spend fumbling with snacks and trying to re-cork drinks, the safer you both will be.
As previously mentioned, distracted driving accounts for a significant number of accidents in America, and texting while driving is the biggest distraction of all. Thus, a good passenger may need to read urgent messages to the driver and type out responses to family and friends.
Keep in mind that this should not be used as an opportunity to snoop through the driver’s personal messages and pictures. Respect their privacy, as you would expect them to respect your own.
Yes, we did say you would be the passenger, but sharing the driving responsibility – especially for long journeys – makes the trip less stressful. It also decreases the likelihood of the driver falling asleep at the wheel from boredom or exhaustion.
For this reason, avoid consuming alcohol or anything else that might impair your judgement on the trip, just in case the driver needs you to take over at some point.
If for any reason, the passenger cannot assist with the driving, then becoming the entertainer is the next best thing. In this role, the passenger becomes responsible for keeping the driver awake by ensuring boredom doesn’t creep in, and for keeping them de-stressed.
To boost their mood, you could play music; or read hilarious tweets, memes, and articles. Sometimes, you may also need to just leave them alone to fume in silence.
But the most effective way to keep a driver awake is to engage them in conversation. This means not just talking, but listening, and asking questions to keep them thinking and responding.
This once again decreases the likelihood of them falling asleep at the wheel, while also building a closer relationship between the driver and passenger.
Most of us enjoy new destinations, but few enjoy the long travel-time it takes to get there. However, if you play some or all of these roles to make things easier for the driver, you could turn a boring drive into a trip worth remembering!