More and more passengers are speaking up about texting and driving. If a texting
driver is making you nervous but you're not sure how to bring the topic up, here are
The direct approach. Say, "I'm sorry, but I get really nervous
when people text and drive." Wait to see how the person responds. Most people will
admit it's probably not a good idea or they'll at least put down the phone.
The subtle approach. If you don't feel comfortable telling a
driver to quit texting outright, try hinting:"Would you like me to type for you since
you're driving?" Or, since more states are handing out tickets for texting and driving,
you could say, "I've seen a lot of cops out today, you might not want to text right
now." Or point out things the driver has missed seeing (or narrowly missed hitting).
As in, "Did you see that dog/kid/overturned bank truck?"
If you know
the person your driver is texting, ask the driver to hand over the phone so you can
say something. Then send a message that says, "Driving, talk to you later."
If your driver teases you about being nervous, it's the perfect opener to say,
"Yeah, texting and driving freaks me out. You never know if the person in front or
behind is doing it too."
The "Wow, look at that bad driver!" approach. Point out drivers
who wander into the next lane, drive 45 on the highway, run a stop sign, or stop at
a green light. Then make guesses about who they're texting. Or make up a variation
on the punch buggy game, awarding points each time you see a driver who seems to be
texting (this has the added benefit of forcing your own driver to focus on the surroundings,
not the screen).
The group approach. If your whole group thinks a driver is a
hazard, make a plan together. Take away the driver's car keys: It's what you're supposed
to do with drunk drivers, and studies show that texting drivers are even more dangerous.
Or agree not to ride with that person. If several people boycott a driver, he or she
will get the message.
The life-saving approach. If someone continues to text and drive
or mocks you for worrying about it, avoid riding with that person. Let texting drivers
know you're cutting them off (if you feel comfortable doing so) — a little shame
makes people think twice about bad habits. Or say something like, "My dad told me
I can't ride with you because he says you text and drive."
parents: As we all know, it's not just young drivers who text. If you're stuck in
a car with an adult who is texting (or tweeting or emailing) behind the wheel, be
direct and tell them to stop. Most adults know that parents are constantly telling
kids not to text and drive, so they should feel embarrassed enough to put down the
If a driver absolutely won't stop texting or laughs at you for being nervous, don't
argue. The last thing anyone needs is a road-raging, texting driver. Get out the car
as soon as you can. Next time that driver offers to give you a ride, say, "no, thanks."