Approximately half of motor vehicle accidents with teen drivers were caused by the passenger. The percentage for none teen drivers is much lower, but still exists.
Do not get in the vehicle unless there are enough seats for each person. Younger people are especially prone to overloading a vehicle’s capacity. Passenger cars are made with a specific number of people in mind. Anything above that is dangerous and prohibited.
Put on your seat belt. Despite statistics showing how seat-belts save lives, many people are still not buckling up. Countless safety tests have been done with focus on the restraint systems. When used correctly the chances of being killed or injured in a motor vehicle accident are greatly reduced.
Do not ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol or taking drugs. These slow down the reaction time of the user which increases their inability to correct or avoid mistakes that might result in a wreck. You should never ride with someone who is under the influence. If possible, try to keep them from driving.
Do not distract the driver. Excessive movement, loud noise and horseplay should be discouraged. Countless accidents have occurred when the passenger was “goofing around” and the driver’s attention was taken away from the road ahead. Traveling at highway speed, it only takes a second of distraction to create the possibility of an accident.
Keep your arms, legs and head inside the vehicle at all times. Numerous injuries have occurred to passengers who did not heed that advice. Motor vehicles are built with a type of “safety cage” to provide as much protection as possible to the passengers. When you have parts of your body outside that cage, this increases your chance of injury.
Use common sense. If the driver is speeding or driving dangerously, speak up! Ask them to stop the behavior or get out of the car. A 2,000 pound vehicle is not a toy to be treated carelessly. If the driver is doing so, you have the right to demand to be let out.
We have become too complacent about motor vehicles and often forget the damage they can do. With a few precautions taken, you can increase your chance of remaining safe.