What to do if you don’t feel safe in a car


Tips to help passengers get out of risky situations.

Nervous-looking woman passenger in car.

Young Queenslanders have been urged to have options to get out of situations where they feel at risk as a car passenger.

According to an RACQ survey, an alarming number of high school students have felt unsafe as car passengers.

Grade 11 and 12 students across Queensland were surveyed as part of RACQ’s Docudrama road safety program and it was found that 74% of respondents had found themselves in a situation where they felt their lives were at risk as passengers in vehicles.

The reasons ranged from concern the driver lacked necessary skills to risky behaviours like speeding,  being under the influence of alcohol or drugs and showing poor judgment.

RACQ Manager Education Rhonda McKenzie said passengers should be armed with strategies to avoid risky situations.

“It is essential to have an option if you feel getting in a car could result in a dangerous situation,” Ms McKenzie said.

“This can include the car being overloaded with not enough seatbelts for all passengers and risky behaviours by the driver such as speeding, use of alcohol or drugs, fatigue or distraction.

“Everyone should arrange to have someone they can call at any time who will come and get them, no questions asked.

Getting you and your mates home safely is always the first priority. Your lives will always matter more than any trouble you are in.

Ms McKenzie said there were also options for passengers who realised they were in a bad situation after getting in a car.

“It is important to get out of that unsafe environment as soon as possible,” she said.

“If the driver won’t stop, say you want to stop for food or drink at a fast-food place or servo.

“You can also say you are going to be sick or urgently need to go to the toilet so you can get out of the car and call someone to pick you up.

“Speak up if you find yourself in a situation that does not feel right.

“The decisions you make in those moments have the potential to save you and your mates life long trauma.”

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.