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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-02-06, 01:35 PM   #1
KnhoJ
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Backseat driver?

If you're not used to driving, do you get the urge to be a backseat driver when you're a passenger?
I'm out of the habit, and I guess I've lost touch with my aggression. The last couple of times I've been in a car, I've caught myself commenting that someone else wants to merge, checking blind spots when the driver changes lanes or turns, or just tensing up when the car suddenly swerves into a tight spot in the next lane without warning. I forget that it's normal for drivers to be fully aware of another car, but not twitch an eye to tip off that driver, who might try to block a lane change, or who is being blocked from changing lanes. I'd never realized that my own friends and family, easygoing people, were so aggressive when they drove! It makes me remember that I did exactly the same things when I drove every day, and that's why I'd never noticed this before. I try to refrain from being a backseat driver, but it's impossible to relax in a car anymore. I think I understand the stereotype of elderly people who haven't been able to drive for years doing the same thing.
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Old 12-02-06, 06:29 PM   #2
chephy
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Except for my stupid young brother there are no aggressive drivers in my family. When I am in the back seat, I can't see the road ahead very well anyway, so I just look out the window and pay no attention to traffic at all.
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Old 12-02-06, 06:57 PM   #3
Bizurke
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I'm always giving people directions. Most of the people I ride with haven't lived here long or just have the most horrible routes so I end up doing the "ewww. I wouldn't of done that" when they make a turn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMRzXRqJgfw
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Old 12-02-06, 07:52 PM   #4
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Usually no, but if I'm in a car and notice the driver has a dangerous habit, I will comment on it. I've noticed most people get annoyed if you criticize their driving, especially in their own car.

My ex-girlfriend would follow other vehicles very closely, even at high speeds. I would tell her to stop tailgating, and she'd say "I'm not tailgating, this is just how I drive". Not only is that unsafe, but it's bad for the car too because every time the vehicle in front of you slows down you have to step on the brakes, whereas if you leave a bit more space then you don't have to brake to accomodate their every speedup/slowdown. That's why she needed a brake job almost every year and I can go more than 5 years without a brake job. Also, if you follow too closely then every rock/pebble their tires kick up bounces off your paint. Also, she wouldn't bother evading potholes, which is another thing that irked me.

I think the large amount of cycling I do has made me a much better driver, both in terms of safety, and in terms of how well I look after my car.
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Old 12-02-06, 08:46 PM   #5
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For the definitive answers, please consult The Official Backseat Driver's Manual. Don't forget to take the exam at the end!
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Old 12-05-06, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quite the opposite.

Since I began commuting I prefer that my wife drive and I actually pay very little attention to traffic. Previously I hated riding with her because she's a very passive (non-aggressive) driver. I'm just much calmer overall now - which is definitely a good thing.
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Old 12-06-06, 09:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by JeffS
Quite the opposite.

Since I began commuting I prefer that my wife drive and I actually pay very little attention to traffic. Previously I hated riding with her because she's a very passive (non-aggressive) driver. I'm just much calmer overall now - which is definitely a good thing.
Since I've started riding everywhere I've learned to take a slower relaxed look at things. When I used to drive I was all about going fast and taking the quickest route possible to my destination. Now when I ride in a car I don't have any desire to go any faster and I don't care what route is taken unless there is some sort of strict time limit to get there. I no longer see any reason to go over the speed limit, get mad at people driving slow, or curse at long stop lights. When I see my friends all stressed out over driving I just sit back and have a chuckle. It's funny watching them get all frustrated over something as small as going 5mph slower (when they're going 35mph) or having to stop at a light. I mean stoping at the light doesn't even ruin their cadence or require them to pedal from a dead stop at the base of a big hill after gaining a lot of momentum leading up to it.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnhoJ
If you're not used to driving, do you get the urge to be a backseat driver when you're a passenger? I try to refrain from being a backseat driver, but it's impossible to relax in a car anymore. I think I understand the stereotype of elderly people who haven't been able to drive for years doing the same thing.
Sounds like more of a control issue than a driving issue. Why don't you trust the person who is driving?

My ex was fairly aggressive driver, but safe. She drove herself nuts swearing at the other motorists. She had control issues and so she always presumed that she would be driving. I didn't mind, because when I was driving with her as a passenger, I always made more mistakes than when I was alone, even just from the small noises, breath holds that she would do when not making comments.

But in all the time we were together, there were just a couple of instances where I as a passenger saw danger that she as the driver had not and I warned her. Me, I just make sure that I am buckled up and sit back and enjoy the ride.
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Old 12-06-06, 02:36 PM   #9
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i have trouble relaxing in a car too. everything seems like a close call to me. i constantly push the "brakes" down (i.e. push my foot hard against the floorboard) when i'm in the passenger seat.
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