Choose your 'superpower' when travelling as a passenger

How you can help keep everyone in the car safe by making sure the person behind the wheel is focused on driving.

Imagine a group of high school friends driving around together on a Saturday night. 

Everyone is having fun, the music is loud and the laughter is infectious.

There is one passenger in the front scrolling Spotify, two in the back on Instagram trying to show the driver stories and another passenger is filming it all on Snapchat.

All four passengers are intoxicated. 

While the inexperienced red P-plate driver is sober, he is having trouble shifting his concentration between the road and his mates. 

What is happening inside the car is taking priority over what is outside. 

While travelling down a quiet road, to make things more interesting, one of the passenger’s yells, “Let’s see how fast you can go”.

Unsure, but not wanting to disappoint his mates, the driver accelerates too quickly, losing control of the car resulting in a crash. 

RACQ Education Manager Rhonda McKenzie said this scenario was far too familiar on Queensland roads. 

“Research has found that young drivers experience more crashes with passengers who want to take unsafe risks,” Ms McKenzie said. 

“Approval from friends is a key reason for risk-taking while driving.

“And while risk-taking behaviour is normal and can be fun, it has the potential to lead to young drivers and their passengers being killed, seriously injured and suffering trauma for the rest of their lives.”

In 2019, 39 Queenslanders aged 15–21 lost their lives in road accidents and many more are living with lifelong injuries and trauma.    

“As passengers, we have a superpower, the potential to save our mates from a crash or cause one,” Ms McKenzie said.

“How you use this superpower is in your hands.”

RACQ encourages drivers and passengers to think about what you can do to protect your mates from a crash.

What can you do as a passenger

Be the DJ, the navigator, the driver's social media manager or event coordinator when the plans change at the last minute. By taking on a passenger role, you help the driver focus on the most important task at hand, driving.

What you can do as a driver

As a driver, you need to work out what you need and want from your passengers to ensure you have the full capacity to focus on driving. Set some rules for your car and stand your ground.  The way you use your superpower can help save you and your friends.