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Are you a backseat driver?

Gasping loudly when the driver brakes, complaining about speed and stamping on an imaginary brake are the signs of typical ‘backseat driver’, it was revealed yesterday.

Criticising the driver’s decisions, flinching when they appear to drive too close to the car in front and commenting when it is time to leave the junction only serve to irritate those at the wheel.

The top 20 list of annoyances also includes getting road rage on the driver’s behalf, holding your hands over your face and insisting on giving directions – even if they are not needed.

David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, which carried out the research via said:

“You usually find backseat drivers are the people who would prefer to be in control of the car, rather than sitting in as a passenger. And if you’re someone who drives on a daily basis, it can be really hard to switch off and let someone else take control. Unfortunately, making comments and reacting to what is happening on the road while in the passenger seat can be a big distraction for the person driving. There is a higher risk of an accident or near-miss if the driver is having to fend off unhelpful feedback while trying to concentrate on the road.”

Nagging partners?

Researchers found nagging partners are the biggest backseat drivers, followed by mum and then dad.

Just under half of those polled have been in an argument with someone in the car due to their interfering comments, and an unfortunate five per cent have accidentally jumped a red light.

A quarter of people have missed a turning after being distracted, while seven per cent suffered a collision with a car, cyclist or pedestrian.

Other characteristics of a backseat driver – and likely to cause a near-miss – include advising on which lane the car should be in, and telling the driver when to move at the traffic lights.

Interfering with the music or changing the heating levels are also distracting, as are frequent disagreements with the Satnav.

Reading out road signs as you pass them, waving ‘thanks’ at other drivers for letting ‘you’ out and gesticulating or swearing at other road users are also signs you’re a backseat driver.

But only 21 per cent of motorists admit THEY are backseat drivers when travelling in someone else’s car.

David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, added:

“Drivers and passengers alike turn to Accident Advice Helpline for help when they have been injured in non-fault accidents and driver distractions are often the root cause. We can all recognise the signs of backseat driving and should be more aware of their impact on driver’s emotions and levels of concentration.”

Top 20 signs of a backseat driver

  1. Criticising the driver’s decisions behind the wheel
  2. Complaining about the speed being too fast
  3. Gasping loudly at any slight braking movement
  4. Flinching when they feel the driver is too close to another vehicle/obstacle/wall
  5. Complaining about the speed being too low
  6. Saying when is a good time to leave a junction
  7. Pressing the imaginary brake
  8. You can’t help but advise on which lane the car should be in
  9. You tell the driver when the traffic lights have changed to green
  10. You insist on giving directions
  11. Interfering with the music
  12. Swearing at other road users
  13. Gesticulating at other road users
  14. Getting road rage on the driver’s behalf and swearing at other drivers
  15. Waving ‘thanks’ at other drivers for letting you out
  16. You read out the road signs as you pass them
  17. Changing the heating levels
  18. You hold your hands over your face
  19. You close your eyes frequently when someone else is driving
  20. You disagree with Satnav

You can see the results of the survey here: