How to (Safely) Share the Road With Bad Drivers

Because being in the front seat comes with responsibility.

texting while driving
Photo: zeljkosantrac/Getty Images

Sure they’re annoying, but, beyond that, bad drivers can actually be qualified as public menaces. On this episode of "I Want to Like You," Carroll Lachnit, consumer advice editor at, and Bridget Ballek, coalitions manager for the Teens Safe Driving Coalition at the National Safety Council, talk to Real Simple editor Kristin Van Ogtrop about how to share the road with reckless drivers. Here, a sneak peek at the four biggest offenders:

Teens: New drivers licenses holders are inexperienced—no matter how old they are. A lot of people are quick to get irritated at kids driving the family minivan, but use your interactions—inside the car as parents and outside as road sharers—to exemplify good behaviors behind the wheel of the car.

Motorcyclists: Bikers can only legally lane-split (riding between roadway lanes) in California. But those who live elsewhere should not take it upon themselves to enforce the law by intentionally blocking choppers. Keep them in front of you rather than in your blind spot.

Slow left lane or erratic drivers: Look out for your best interest by safely removing yourself from their presence. If they seem to be intoxicated, have a passenger call 911. Don’t use voice activated dialing or speaker phone, unless it’s a certified emergency. Any phone use while driving means distracted driving. Pull over and then place the call.

The person who is driving you: First, ask: Is this person a bad driver? Or are you a nervous passenger? People have different driving styles. If their tendency to brake hard at every stop sign makes you uncomfortable or sick, try to avoid riding with that person in the future. If they’re constantly on their phone, let them know that you’d rather text for them—and keep pressing them until they stop. It’s ok to be annoying if you’re making the road safer for everyone.

Listen to the full podcast below, and be sure to subscribe on iTunes to hear future episodes.

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