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Being the owner of a car, I end up driving people around a lot. It’s not that I mind, but, sometimes I wish people would just respect my vehicle. It’s not any one’s fault there is no rule book for the passenger, so, here is the rule book for all passengers in the car.
Before you start reading the rules, I need to give you a background. It is estimated that 80% of all drivers are men and most of these men and women have unusual relationships with their cars. The reason is that a car is an expensive piece of machinery they have probably bought with their hard earned money. The driver’s seat is a sanctuary, where he is in control, unopposed, unrestricted. There is an emotional bond that even the car owner cannot understand, that’s just the way things are.
Rule 1: The car is not a garbage bin
This is something most people do unconsciously since, our parents never taught us to use a proper garbage can, so we have no idea what to do with a rolled up tissue in our hand. Any owner of a car will tell you that it is very annoying to find pieces of trash on the floor. So, be respectful and put the trash in your pocket or bag.
In summation, the guy giving you a lift probably spends time and money to keep his car clean, under no circumstances do YOU, the passenger, have any right to litter.
Rule 2: Ask permission before lighting up
Most men smoke or have attempted to smoke at some point in their lives, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. However, when you decide to light up in someone else’s car, ask permission first. Even if the guy giving you a lift is a smoker and does smoke in his own car, you should ask if you are initiating the smoking ritual. You don’t have to go through this ritual if the owner lights up first.
Rule 3: Roll up the windows when getting out
Some drivers do not have or prefer not to use the air conditioner, they usually roll down the window. If you are encountered with such a driver, feel free to roll down the window for the duration of your journey, but, always keep in mind that when you get out of the car it is YOUR responsibility to roll your window back up unless he/she specifically asks you not to. You don’t even need to take out any extra time, just roll it up when on the approach to the final destination.
Rule 4: Until further notice, the car you are sitting in… is flawless
Women specifically have this habit, it’s not a good one and is extremely annoying. You should never, under any circumstances point out any flaws in the car. As mentioned above, people are emotionally involved with their vehicles, so, being a nice person they’ll probably not respond to your maligning of their beloved car.
It’s like someone started saying bad things about you to your face. Whatever the condition of the car, it’s still more than you have and they are the one doing you a favor by letting you into their intimate space, respect them and their car.
Rule 5: Do not fiddle with the cool looking buttons
There is a reason the designers of the car you are freeloading in angled the entire cockpit to accommodate the driver and not you. All those really cool looking buttons serve a purpose in the control and maintenance of the car, believe it or not, drivers set all those buttons to an adjustment that allows them to control their car.
When you have the urge to change the settings of the air conditioning, just ask them to do it for you or ask permission first. Sometimes having the air conditioning on, makes the car move slower because the air conditioner drains power that would be better utilized in getting you to your desired destination. There is nothing evil about pushing a button, but, give your friend some basic respect and ask them first.
Rule 6: Backseat driving is inhumane
Dads and women (wives included) have this problem. Dads just never trust their sons but women (wives excluded) have no reason. Barking out orders to switch lanes, overtake or even slow down is the quickest way to be never allowed in the vehicle again. You will notice next time he will start making excuses so he does not have to give you a lift next time.
I even know some men who have asked people to get out of the vehicle for attempting to take the reins. Always remember that when driving, the man in the driver’s seat is in control, you should never attempt to move in on his control. Sit back, relax and let him drive, everything will flow much smoother.
Rule 7: Navigators should have a route plan
This is just simply an oversight even drivers make even when taking a lift from a friend. It is not easy to make turns on a whim when momentum and traffic are working against you. So, if you are navigating a route that the driver does not know it is always a good idea to let them know at least 100 meters ahead of time when they need to make a turn so they can switch lanes, speed up or slow down to make an accident free turn.
It is even more annoying when you ask them to take their car to a place where cars are not meant to go like crowded markets, narrow streets or bear tracks. Let them know beforehand what they are getting themselves into and chances are they’ll ask you for a route that is most suited to them and their car and you can navigate that route.
Rule 8: The car and driver are not yours to command
Keep this in mind every time you get a lift from anyone, like a bus does not go out of the way so you can get off in your living room, your friend is not bound by any law to take you right to the gate of your house or the burger joint you are suddenly having a craving for. It takes time, effort, money and patience to drive a car and drivers are usually at the end of their reserves by the time you park your freeloading butt in the passenger seat.
They bought the car for their own convenience, not yours, keep that in mind next time you decide that you want to go somewhere else. It is a lot like backseat driving, it becomes a burden very very quickly.
Rule 9: The driver saw it before you!
Another offshoot of backseat driving is when you are too much of a coward, allow me to explain. God decided to put eyes on the front of the drivers head and a windshield on the front of the car. Your friend who is kind enough to give you a lift is looking ahead and has already seen the guy cross the road and adjusted his driving accordingly.
You provide no help by gasping or (in some cases) squealing like a little girl and pointing out what they have already seen. Most, if not all, drivers make such calculations in the fraction of a second before you ever notice anything. Trust your friend to know what they are doing and just chill.
Rule 10: The dashboard and seat are not footrests!
If you are one of those people who have this habit, you have probably been reprimanded or even thrown out of a moving vehicle. Putting your feet up may seem more comfortable to you, but, it is the highest form of disrespect you can display to a car and its owner. Even the shyest driver will draw the line at seeing your foot on their seat.
Never, under any circumstance, place your feet on the dashboard or the seat. Be respectful and keep your smelly feet firmly planted on the floor.