As a passenger, it is easy enough to trust the driver you’re with and fiddle around on your phone until you get to your destination. You don’t think they’ll make a mistake or put you in danger. You probably don’t even spend all that much time watching the road or watching the driver.
Maybe you should. After all, you are literally putting your life in that person’s hands. If they get distracted and cause an accident, you could be the one who suffers some serious injuries.
To help you know when it is time to speak up or to look for another means of transportation, here are a few signs that the driver is distracted:
1. They put their phone on the center console or in their lap
This means they want to know the very second they get a notification. They’re planning on checking a text message or answering a call. Distraction is only a split second away. They may even be thinking about the phone or expecting the message to come in while they drive, which can be distracting even if they never touch the phone.
2. They keep turning to talk to you
Passengers are one of the biggest driving distractions. If the driver seems more engrossed in the conversation than they should be, you’re in danger. If they keep taking their eyes off of the road to look at you, that’s a risk. A lot of people do it instinctively because it’s a social convention to look at the person you’re speaking to; gently remind them that you’d rather they watched the road.
3. They refuse to stop and eat
If you’re taking a road trip to Las Vegas, you’re going to get hungry on the ride. Fast food is a quick, easy way to get a meal. If they won’t stop but insist on eating and drinking while they drive, though, it’s a problem. It may save time, but not if it causes an accident.
4. They keep using the car’s entertainment system
Modern cars have a lot of technological options: built-in GPS systems, satellite radios, Bluetooth streaming options, heated and cooled seats, and much more. A lot of drivers assume that it’s safe to use these systems while they drive. If they keep doing it often — choosing each specific song they want to hear, for instance — they could put you at risk. Watch their actions to see if they’re paying attention to the road.
Seeing the signs doesn’t mean you can get them to drive safely. So, what do you do if a distracted driver crashes and you do wind up in the hospital? You need to know what rights you have to financial compensation for your injuries.