Spouses are the Worst Backseat Drivers, Followed by Mothers and Friends

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A new survey by Insurance.com ranks the worst passengers.



Getting there isn’t always half the fun. Micromanagement from the backseat critics can turn a scenic drive into a battle of wills.

Spouses are the most likely to make summer road trips a painful journey, probably by commenting on speed and giving unwanted directions.

Husbands and wives top the list of “the worst backseat drivers,” according to a survey of 500 drivers commissioned by Insurance.com.

Among women, 34 percent point to their husbands as the worst passengers, followed by their mothers (18 percent) and friends (15 percent).

When men are at the wheel, 40 percent cite their wives as being the worst backseat drivers, followed by friends (17 percent) and mothers (15 percent).

Children -- from young kids to teens to adults – are the least irritating passengers. When results for men and women are combined, children rank fairly low:

  • Adult daughter: 7 percent
  • My child, son: 5 percent
  • My adult son: 4 percent
  • My teen daughter: 3 percent
  • My child, daughter: 3 percent
  • My teen son: 3 percent

Fathers are pegged as the worst passengers by only 5 percent of drivers.

“Getting there isn’t always half the fun,” said Insurance.com managing editor Michelle Megna. “Micromanagement from the backseat critics can turn a scenic drive into a battle of wills.”

Commenting on driving speed is the most annoying thing passengers do, making it the top offense by an 18-point margin, according to survey results.

The top offenses of passengers are:

  • Comments on driving speed: 47 percent
  • Gives directions: 29 percent
  • Talks too much: 19 percent
  • Pushes imaginary “brake” with foot: 15 percent
  • Fiddles with radio or CD player: 10 percent
  • Talks on phone or texts: 7 percent
  • Sings: 6 percent
  • Eats: 3 percent

Survey respondents were also able to write in the worst passenger behaviors not listed. Their gripes illustrate the wide range of passenger habits that drivers have to contend with, such as:

  • Makes faces and gestures
  • Screams about something I’m already aware of
  • Tells me to go faster
  • Blocks the rear view mirror
  • Gets car sick
  • Gives incorrect directions
  • Grabs handles
  • Points to turn after we passed it
  • Complains about not braking softly enough
  • Reacts to things I have already seen and taken into account
  • Tells me to turn after it is too late to get over
  • Gives commentary on a video game with gun-firing sounds

“Perhaps you can distract them by pointing out the many flaws in the drivers around you,” said Megna.

Megna also suggested drivers take a cue from a gracious gentleman who stood apart from the rest. His comment: “My wife has helped me avoid many an accident by paying attention to the road.”

Tips for happier road trips

  • Agree on CDs and radio stations before the trip.
  • Opinionated passengers should try sitting in the backseat or deep-breathing techniques.
  • Agree to the length and frequency of stops before the trip.
  • Tell the driver how his or her actions make you feel, as opposed to criticizing.
  • Map out your itinerary ahead of time using a GPS device.

Read the full article at http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/safety/worst-backseat-drivers.html.

Insurance.com commissioned an online-panel survey of 500 drivers age 18 and older. The survey was fielded in February 2013.

About Insurance.com
Insurance.com provides articles that help consumers understand insurance. The site makes it easy for consumers to research insurance questions and get fast, free comparison rates from multiple companies. Experts from Insurance.com are available for interviews about car insurance rates and other auto insurance topics. Insurance.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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Michelle Megna

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