Your Passenger Has A Role To Play In Preventing A New Haven Auto Accident

January 27, 2024
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The ultimate responsibility in preventing a New Haven auto accident rests with the driver of the vehicle, but there is also a role for the passenger of the vehicle to play as well. While a passenger can decide how fast to go or whether or not the driver is using turn signals, the passenger does have some items on their checklist to make sure everyone is safe when riding in the car.

The first rule for any passenger is to make sure their safety is top of mind before worrying about anyone else in the vehicle. If you’re more worried about the safety of others in the car and not your own, if an incident were to occur you would not be able to help anyone because you would be hurt and not available to the rest of the people in the vehicle. It is important to make sure your seat belt is fastened and you are alert while the vehicle is moving so you can be another set of eyes for the driver. While you don’t want to be a “passenger seat” driver you can be an extra set of eyes if something doesn’t look right or if there is a situation that the driver needs help working through.

When you plan to travel as a passenger you should plan to play an active role in the safety of the other passengers in the vehicle as well as the safety of the driver. This is particularly important if you are a passenger in the front passenger seat as you have the clearest view of the road situation in front of you. If you are playing an active role in the safety of all the people you are sharing a vehicle with you will be able to ease the pressure from the driver who should not bare the entirety of the burden by her/himself. Even though you don’t have control over the vehicle there are some things you can do to make driving easier and a more stress free situation for the driver.

1.) Before you even get into the vehicle and the driver begins driving you should ensure that impaired driving is not going to be a situation. If you notice that the driver has been drinking or doing drugs you should mention something and then offer to be the designated driver. If the driver refuses to allow you to be the designated driver you may want to consider taking her/his keys away in order to ensure the safety of all the people who would be traveling in that vehicle as well as anyone you would be sharing the road with.

2.) Take care of the distracting stuff. As a passenger you can play an active role in keeping your eyes on the road ahead, but you do not have to spend your entire time locked in on the road like the driver does, therefore you can be freed up to take care of some of the things that often present distractions to the driver. Making sure there is a good song on the radio can be one of your roles. If you’re on an extended road trip you can be responsible for the snacks and handing them out in a safe way to everyone else in the car. If the driver gets a text message or a phone call you can address it to avoid any distractions for the driver. Last but not least, if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area you can take on the responsibility for navigation.

3.) While the driver should be the first responsible party to make sure that everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seat belt properly, you, as the passenger, can do an extra safety check. Taking time to double and triple check that seat belts are being worn can be an important job that you can handle as the passenger in the vehicle. If the driver doesn’t have to worry too closely about this, it can make for a much less stressful ride.

4.) Finally, maybe your toughest role as a passenger in a vehicle is to call out the driver when she/he is not driving safely or is being reckless behind the wheel. While you will want to avoid being a “backseat driver” you will want to say something if things are getting a little out of hand. If the driver is using excessive speed for instance you may want to say something to make sure she/he is aware of how they are driving and the risk it is putting you and the other passengers in. You should also say something if they are engaging in distracted behaviors or are weaving between lanes on a highway, these are things that can cause imminent harm and you should say something about it. While most situations will lead to the driver heeding your advice, if you do find that you’re in an extreme situation and the driver will not listen to your warnings, you may need to call 911 to have the driver pulled over. This is your safety you’re talking about.

Being the passenger in a vehicle can seem quite relaxing and like you’re “off the hook” for driving long distances, but truthfully there is a role you can play in preventing a New Haven auto accident even when you’re not behind the wheel of the vehicle. Taking the time to understand your role and to execute when you are the one riding in the passenger seat will go a long way in making sure that your road trip is a successful one without any incidents.

If an accident occurs when you’re a passenger you may need an experienced attorney to review your situation and work with you to protect your long-term interests. Contact our office and one of our attorneys will speak with you to try to understand the situation that you find yourself in and help you discuss your options.