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The Passengers That Drivers Hate Most

As we first discovered when we finally ditched the P-plates, one of the delights and duties of driving is taking passengers. Sometimes, your passengers are a joy and being their driver is a lot of fun. However, at other times, it’s more of a nightmare, especially with certain passengers.

Here is a rogue’s gallery of the passengers that you probably don’t want to provide driving services for unless you really can’t avoid it (e.g. if one’s your mother or if you’re a professional taxi driver).

#1: The Litterbug

According to a UK poll, messy passengers were among the worst type to cart about.  You know the ones – the passengers who think nothing about sprinkling the floor of your car with empty chip packets, fast food wrappers, fingernail clippings, empty drink bottles and all the rest. The litterbug seems to consider a vehicle a mobile rubbish bin and doesn’t care that you’re going to have to clean that mess out and bin it at the end of the trip. Having a rubbish bag or car tidy on hand sometimes helps curb the bad habits of the litterbug, but much of the time, you end up gritting your teeth and feeling grateful that the litterbug isn’t dropping rubbish out of the window (which is rotten for the environment and can also end up getting on your paintwork).

If, however, you are one of those drivers who also chucks wrappers and packets into the footwell, you are more likely to be annoyed by…

#2: Donkey

This clip from Shrek 2 says it all:


Yes, it’s a cliché, but asking “Are we there yet?” really does drive drivers around the bend, up the pole and stark raving bonkers.

#3: The Map Illiterate

All good rally drivers have good navigators. A good human navigator who knows his/her way around a map (paper or on-screen) beats some of the software that tells you directions (and won’t send you round the long way, as some software has been known to).

A bad navigator – well, that’s another story! You’ve got the people who can’t or won’t read maps, who are annoying but are merely useless. There are those who use every single meaning of “right” instead of keeping it for a turn to starboard and say things like “Go right through the roundabout”, leaving you uncertain about whether you’re supposed to head straight on or turn right, or answer your question of “So I turn left after the school sports grounds?” with “Right”. You’ve got those who tell you to turn at the intersection just as you’re going through it and it’s too late to brake or indicate to go around it safely, forcing you do a U-turn or go round the block (and possibly get lost). Then you’ve got those who think that they can read maps or think they know the way from A to B and give you totally mistaken directions, sending you into the middle of nowhere.

Some navigators are competent but have bad timing.  For example, they give you a screed of instructions (“Take the third intersection to the left, then second right, then go on for about a kilometre, then turn left at the roundabout, then the first driveway to the right.”) then expect you to remember it all.  Fortunately, these ones can be trained to do the job properly. With the others, there’s no hope and you’d do better to stick to the computerised navigation system.

#4 Backseat Drivers

The backseat driver know exactly what to do when.  He or she knows the right speed to go around every bend, the right time to indicate, the right speed to go at, the right lane to choose, etc. etc. ad nauseam.  You never get it right if you have a backseat driver on board. You’re either going too fast or too slow, you’re braking too hard or too late, you’re going the wrong way, you miss all the good parking spots, and you’re either far too cautious and missing perfectly good gaps or you’re reckless.

You wonder if they’ve got a secret wish to work as a driving instructor. That would certainly get the urge to tell others what to do out of their system. Or maybe it wouldn’t.

#5 The Slammer

Whether they’re happy or sad, mad or excited, the slammer only knows one way to close a car door: give it a hefty shove so it bangs closed, shaking the whole car and making you wonder if it’s possible to slam a door so hard that you’ll set off airbags (answer: no). They make you wince when you think about what this is going to do to your car.

#6 Bigfoot

Bigfoot doesn’t like having his or her feet down in the footwell. Instead, Bigfoot puts his/her feet all over the dashboard or the back of the front seats. This is bad enough if Bigfoot removes his/her footwear first, which means that your dashboard gets marked by sweat. It’s worse if Bigfoot keeps his/her shoes on, smearing mud and grit over the dash. It’s also annoying having those great big hoofs up there in the edge of your vision.

Female Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) also attempt to give themselves a pedicure or paint their toenails. Pray like anything that you don’t hit a bump at the wrong moment, because nail polish is a beast to get off your interior trim.

#7 The DJ

The DJ constantly changes the music, skipping songs and radio stations, tinkering with the graphic equaliser, changing the CD, changing the volume, plugging and unplugging things from the auxiliary input or the USB input… It’s an improvement on the backseat driver or the are-we-there-yet pest but very annoying if you’re listening to your favourite driving music but the DJ switches it in the middle.

However, on the other hand, having a DJ in the passenger seat is an improvement on a DJ in the driver’s seat, at least from a safety perspective. As long as they don’t drive you nuts by tinkering with the sound system without asking you first.

Are there any others that we’ve missed? Now’s your chance to have a bit of a gripe!

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