Having company in the vehicle is generally a good thing. Perhaps you carpool with colleagues from work or take your family on regular trips.
Having some company with you can feel like a welcome distraction, but on the road, no distractions are welcome. You need to be able to focus on the road and potential hazards at all times.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to limit the chances of passengers becoming a distraction.
Limit intense conversations
Small talk can be a good thing on a long journey. It keeps you just stimulated enough to avoid becoming fatigued. But conversations with passengers shouldn’t become too intense. For instance, you should never be engaged in an argument or heated debate while behind the wheel.
If a passenger is intent on having discussions like this, ask them to wait until you have pulled over. If you sense that an argument is set to continue, stop at the next safe location until things have calmed down.
Set some ground rules
Maybe you’re the designated river for the night and have been tasked with taking your tipsy friends home. While you’re all in good spirits, your friends will need to know that you’re not part of the party until the vehicle has pulled over. Make sure you set some ground rules in the car and eliminate distracting talk and horseplay.
Ground rules should also be set for children in the car. It’s not a place for them to have fights with their siblings or to throw toys around. While you cannot use electronic devices while driving, such items can be a good thing for the kids. Just make sure they wear headphones or turn the volume on their devices down.
You can only limit distractions in your own car and not in other vehicles. If a distracted driver has caused you injuries, you may be able to hold them to account legally. Seeking some guidance can make it easier to explore your options in more detail.