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backseat drivers

What You Can Learn From Being a Backseat Driver

Everyone has heard the phrase backseat driver. Most of the time it seems to be in a derogatory tone. A backseat driver is someone who gives driving advice and directions to drivers from either the backseat or the passenger's seat.

Nobody likes to be caught being a backseat driver. But if you're in a driver's education course and on your way to getting your license, being a backseat driver can pay off -- as long as you approach it in a mature and professional manner.

Observe What They Are Doing Wrong

The next time you find yourself in the car with an experienced driver, pay attention. You'll be surprised to find that they might not be following the rules of the road as learned in your driver's education course to the fullest. The average driver makes 400 illegal traffic maneuvers before being caught so it's no surprise that you can typically observe some not-so-legal driving maneuvers from anyone you happen to be in the car with, including your parents.

Why? The fact is that as time goes by and drivers move beyond their driver's ed days, they get into a routine. They drive the same route, stop at the same stop sign, turn down the same road, and pass the same buildings on the way to the same job. They become comfortable enough with their surroundings that they feel they know what's around the corner. And, over time, they develop driving habits that aren't consistent with the rules of the road taught in a driver's education course.

Do They Come To a Complete Stop?

Many drivers fail to obey the stop sign. You may remember from your driver's education course that when you come to a stop sign, you must come to a complete stop. You must look left, then right, then left again. Only once it's safe to proceed may you move forward.

Unfortunately, many drivers today fail to obey the stop sign and the rules instilled in them in their driver's education program. They feel that slowing down for a stop sign is sufficient enough. It's called the rolling stop (or California stop) and the fact of the matter is it's unsafe. Pedestrians could be crossing, the roads could be slippery and the results could end up being disastrous.

Next time you see this, take a mental note. Remember that what they did is illegal. They are breaking one of the most basic rules of the road and violating driver, passenger and pedestrian safety.

Are They Speeding?

Speed limits are posted for a reason. Certain factors are taken into consideration such as whether or not you're driving through a residential neighborhood or a school zone. Next time you're in a vehicle with someone -- even the most experienced driver -- pay attention as to whether they're adhering to the posted speed limit. If they're traveling too fast, they may pay the price in the form of a ticket.

Do They Use Turn Signals?

Even if no one is around you still need to use turn signals. It's the car you don't see that could be the most harmful. This is a common driving behavior for experienced drivers to become lazy about doing.

Paying Attention Can Pay Off

There are countless additional items to look out for. Anything you learned about in driver's ed you should pay attention to so you can see how experienced drivers apply the behavior in real life.

Being a backseat driver can help you prepare for life on the road. Paying attention to what other drivers are doing wrong and mentally correcting the problem can help you ace the driving test. Of course you don't want to annoy the driver but you may want to include them in some of the illegal driving behaviors you are noticing.

If you were correct in your observation it can be helpful to the driver. Many times drivers just forget over time, don't think of certain laws as being as important and need a little reminder. If it's your parents, they might be happy to know you're learning so much.

If the experienced driver believes you are wrong in your observation it would be good to find out why. Remember, you are still learning so there may have been a reason why the driver did what they did. Take a note and go back and review that area of the driver's education course so you can get a more complete understanding of that particular driving behavior and if the driver was indeed driving safely.

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