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Passenger issues

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Passengers – part of the crew

Being a responsible and calm passenger is really important. Test your back-seat driving with the passenger quiz.

While having a friend with a full licence can spell more freedom and more fun all round, it's also about being responsible. As a passenger, the chances of an accident are influenced by your behaviour as well as the driver's.

Although you may have every confidence in your mate's driving ability, it's likely that they're still feeling pretty nervous behind the wheel. Doing what you can to ease their nerves will help them to gain confidence more quickly. Being annoying will only make things more difficult for the driver.

Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for them.

Pipe down! Let the driver concentrate on driving, and save that tasty bit of gossip for when you have their full attention.

Spare them the shame Most new drivers will occasionally crunch the gears, stall at the lights, or 'bunny hop' when moving off. Don't make a big deal of it; laugh with them, not at them.

Grit your teeth Your mate may drive slower than your granny, but pressuring them to speed up is not cool. Grit your teeth and deal with it. If you really can't handle it then you can always get out and walk.

Keep them straight This doesn't mean holding the wheel while they put on a jumper! (Pull over and stop for that.) To stay in control while driving – and to keep hold of their licence – your mate needs to stay sober and drug-free while driving. If they want to drive under the influence then keep them straight by laying on the shame, tell them how stupid they're being, and say it LOUD.

Look after number one While most new drivers start out very nervous and cautious, some feel just the opposite: overly confident about their driving ability. This puts you at risk, so if your mate is speeding or driving stupidly then tell them about it. Be prepared to catch a bus instead if they don't listen – they're not going to feel too cool driving around with no mates.

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