We all know the things that trigger stress when we're driving: traffic congestion; people cutting across lanes without signaling; inattentive drivers talking on cellphones... but what about the stress that's created within your own vehicle?
The Los Angeles Times reports that a new poll by Insurance.com says that spouses are the worst, most critical backseat drivers. Moms and friends are next in line.
"Spouses were definitely tagged as being the worst backseat drivers, but even friends were in the mix," says Michelle Megna, managing editor for Insurance.com. What does that tell us?
The Times' Ron White reports that one couple from Santa Monica, CA exemplify the survey findings. Mark Schwartz and his wife, Debra Joy, "look as though they just fell in love, even after several years of marriage" says White. But...
"When she's driving, I can't shut up about trying this route or that, about getting around someone driving too slow," Schwartz said.
"When I'm driving, she tells me she should be entitled to combat pay," Schwartz said, "because of the terror she has to experience with me behind the wheel."
Among women in the Insurance.com poll: 34% said husbands were the worst passengers, followed by their mothers (18%) and friends (15%).
Men were even more aggravated by their wives, with 40% citing them as the worst passengers, followed by friends (17%) and mothers.
Here's my theory... They say that opposites attract. If I'm the 'good driver' in my house, does that mean my spouse is not likely to meet my driving standards?
Honestly, it doesn't matter because you're not going to change your spouse's driving habits. And stepping on the imaginary brake pedal you wish was real on the passenger side of the car is not going to help your case. Just be sure your insurance payments are up to date.
Among the least critical passengers, for men and women, were their teenage sons and daughters. White suggested that maybe they just don't know enough about driving to be appalled by their parents' motoring skills. I think there's more going on here.
The teenage kids stay quiet on the subject because they know where their bread is buttered. 99.9 percent of the time, it's mom and dad who help put them in a position where they can either drive their parents' car, or, obtain a vehicle of their own... So if the kids are smart, they're not going to jeopardize that arrangement!
Who are the least aggravating adults to have as passengers? Dads, by far. Fathers are pegged as the worst passengers by only 5% of drivers, according to the poll results.
Why is that? White says it's because the dads are probably thrilled anytime we aren't expected to drive. True, but it's also because we learned early; silence is golden.