As Michael Caine once so succinctly, if allegedly, put it, “Not many people know this”. This can apply to any number of things but in this case it applies to the fact that there are regional variations for back seat drivers. Who’d have thought it? You’d think it was a universal curse. Protesting personal innocence won’t cut any ice because according to some recent research three quarters of us will admit, in private and behind closed doors, that we might be a bit guilty of this cardinal sin which so aggravates the person behind the wheel.
The Unhelpful Instructions
The old jokes about the Mother-In-Law (not your Mother-In-Law obviously, who is a sweet and caring woman) demanding that the driver should slow down has some basis in fact and remarks about excess speed seems to be the most annoying back seat driving offence in the UK. Add to that shouting out direction changes at the impossible last minute and suggesting that the last manoeuvre made was chancy in the extreme; they all take their toll and can even cause accidents or near misses.
It seems that one thousand random motorists have been screened around the UK and it is Glasgow that is alleged to have the most passenger pundits. Liverpool is said to have the least, which seems hard to believe, frankly.
The implication that the person you are courteously driving about is a better driver is irksome to say the least and could have dangerous consequences. A study by the Accident Advice Helpline revealed a quarter of drivers have missed a turning because of passenger distractions. It’s not unknown for a driver to miss a red light accidentally because of an argument with an annoying passenger.
For both men and women, passengers remarking on speed is the most annoying act of which, tellingly and don’t shoot the messenger, eighty percent of women admit to doing in comparison to sixty percent of men. Second on the list of irritations is directions. It seems that a large proportion of passengers have clearly been to the Bear Grills School Of Orienteering and could unerringly find their way across the Gobi Desert by night using just the stars to guide them. Other irritants include making braking noises and actions, or gasping or screaming or pulling faces when they figure the driver has just made yet another blunder. By highlighting the behaviour of back seat drivers, it opens the door to the autonomous car enthusiasts who can see that by eradicating the act of self-driving the curse of the back seat driver is itself eliminated. Be careful what you wish for.
Seriously though, making gestures, remarks or scary noises can often lead to the driver losing focus and making an actual error instead of a perceived one. Although being harshly critical or nagging can seem amusing, it conceivably could risk the safety of everyone in and around the vehicle. Save it for later, unless the thinking is that the driver is in fact being so dangerous or stupid as to affect life and limb, then go right ahead and demand that they stop. Anyway, don’t worry, you won’t get any back seat instruction from us here at eCars247, but we will be more than happy to put you in the driving seat.