Fleet managers should be wary of the potential distraction passengers can cause drivers, after a recent survey showed many drivers find passengers ‘a disruptive and potentially dangerous influence’.
A third of drivers have fallen out with a passenger while travelling and in 15% of instances, tensions have reached such a point that the driver opted to throw the passenger out of the vehicle, according to the survey by Admiral Insurance.
Three-quarters of drivers also admitted to feeling more nervous when they had somebody in the car with them.
Steve Clarke, group marketing manager at MileageCount, said: “You have a situation with two people in the confined space of a car or van, with the driver having to concentrate and be in control while the passenger can be a distraction, so it’s not surprising this sometimes causes conflict.
“Fleet managers should be aware of this and offer suitable training and advice to their employees.”
The Admiral survey highlighted many of the issues that could lead to conflict arising during a journey. For instance, 35% of motorists said they are most irritated if their passenger criticises the quality of their driving, 10% cited a passenger shouting at other road users as being particularly annoying, with a further 9% complaining about them putting their feet on the dashboard.
Admiral went on to note that annoying passengers can be extremely hazardous, as 11% of drivers suggested their life has been put at risk because of someone travelling with them in the car.
Admiral managing director, Sue Longthorn acknowledged that many of the actions that put the driver at risk of crashing are not always intentional.
However, she said it is important to remember that the motorist is “in control” and that anything which takes their attention off the immediate task might be fatal.