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New Research Suggests Backseat Drivers Are Actually Helpful

New Research Suggests Backseat Drivers Are Actually Helpful

But it all depends on your tone.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

Having a backseat driver in your car can be supremely annoying.

While they might think they're being nice, their constant screams that you're driving too close to the curb, or 'watch out for that pedestrian', or that you're going the wrong way can make you want to throw them out.

But it appears that these people might actually be really helpful.

New research has found a backseat driver can reduce accidents in drivers over the age of 24.


Samuel Charlton, a professor of psychology at the University of Waikato, has co-authored the new study for the Automobile Association.

He's told Radio New Zealand: "There's this perception out there that passengers can be distracting, nagging and so-forth, but after the age of 24 having a passenger in your car actually decreases the chance you're going to have a crash.

"Having a passenger look out the left hand window and telling you whether it's clear to go or not is very helpful."

There are loads of things that a passenger can do for a driver that can be beneficial, such as providing directions.

Professor Charlton's study said tone is incredibly important when it comes to backseat driving. You can't just nag someone about the way they drive their car or that they're doing the wrong thing.


He added that it's important to have a conversation before you start the journey about what the driver might need. Prof. Charlton says anything that the driver doesn't need help with can stay in the backseat driver's mind.

A survey conducted in 2018 had a look at 2,000 British drivers to see what their attitudes were on backseat driving.

Incredibly, a whopping 70 per cent of respondents found the habit annoying and reported their life partners as the biggest culprits.

We've all been there when we're on a road trip and your significant other chooses that long time alone with one another as the best moment to explain all the things they dislike about your driving.

Around 50 per cent of people admitted to getting into arguments due to comments made while someone was trying to backseat drive. Even five per cent said they had accidentally jumped a red light during an argument with a backseat driver.

That's why you need to be helpful when you comment.

Featured Image Credit: Storyblocks

Topics: News, Driving, Interesting