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The Commuter Column: Backseat Drivers

Kathleen Joyce

Those pesky backseat drivers! I used to be one when I was younger; my poor mother used to always call me out on it. It does not seem annoying until you become a driver yourself. A few weeks ago, I was driving four friends in my car, filling up my Sedan to its seating capacity. I started to hear some strange noises from the backseat. I turned around and the passengers seemed to be afraid of my driving. “Brake Kat!” “Kat, didn’t you see that red light?” “Stop sign means stop!” I stopped, or rather slammed on my brakes, for a few moments. I have been driving for over six years now, so what’s the deal? Is my driving that terrible?

The answer is no it’s not. I drive the way I drive, I abide by the rules and yes, I do stop at stop signs. I have the tendency to speed, but I will eventually stop at the red light. Call me a terrible driver if you want, but I have not been in an accident in over three years, (knock on wood) and I don’t plan to in the next three years.

Dealing with backseat drivers is like dealing with kids; you have to school them. Nothing is more annoying than hearing somebody else tell you while you’re driving that you can’t drive. It was already nice of you to drive them around in the first place, since in this particular situation I was driving a bunch of drinkers and being the safe, sober driver. Next time, toss them their keys and say, “Then you drive if you don’t feel I can and I’ll drink so much that you’ll have to keep pulling over so I can puke on the side of the road.” Or when they drive making a few snide comments here and there doesn’t hurt, but I’m not playing their game. Put on your seatbelt and hope for the best.

It’s a privilege to drive somebody else or be driven by somebody, so respect the car they are in and pray that you’ll get to your destination in one piece. All of my friends are always appreciative when I drive and constantly thank me. It was the new friends who didn’t respect my driving manners. Ignore them; they’ll start to quiet down after a while. You know that the day you got your license and sat behind your wheel that you had a new responsibility, a big one. You already know how to drive, thanks to Drivers Education.

So to all my drivers out there, ignore the haters of your driving; just drive to your ability. If it’s the most comfortable you feel while driving then that’s the most important thing. I hope everyone had a great break and for those who carpool in the morning, I hope you have the chance to say thanks to the driver and so forth. A little thanks can go a long way. Even if it is only driving, you’re thanking them for driving you and they’re thanking you for not being a backseat driver.

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