• backseat driving

Ford Says Driver Assists Could Curb Backseat Bother  

Creating a more relaxed, collaborative atmosphere in the car.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams August 24, 2019

Ford says that adding more driver-assist tech could put an end to one of the biggest irritations behind the wheel. No, we don’t mean road rage at that jerk in front of you who has made seven un-indicated lane changes in the last four kilometres. Ford’s talking about backseat drivers.

There’s not much worse than someone sitting in your car and telling you what to do. But we’ve all experienced, and probably even been, that passenger. Move over! Slow down! Watch that truck! Pull over, I’m going to be sick! Ok, maybe not that last one. You know what we’re talking about, though.

A new study from Ford says that 68 percent of drivers think backseat driving will get the boot thanks to driver assist technology.

“For a lot of drivers, constantly getting advice from passengers is more than just annoying, it’s stressful,” said sociologist Dr Jess Carbino who helped run the study.

The data showed that backseat driving was beyond just stressful for the driver. It also caused relationships to suffer. Between you and whoever is telling you what to do, at least. But it also said that driver assist features could reduce backseat driver behaviour and let you get back to arguing over more important things. Like the radio.

backseat driving

And not necessarily for the reasons you’d expect. Yes, driver aids can help avoid the situations that elicit backseat comments. Things like lane weaving, cars in your blind spot, and even failing to brake hard enough in an emergency can all be solved and avoided. But the data suggested that just having the features present could put a stop to back seat drivers. If the chauffeur assistant sitting behind you trusts the driver aids, it reduces their perception that you needed help. Carbino said that driver assist features like Ford’s own Co-Pilot360 “helps encourage trust during the drive and can help create a more relaxed, collaborative atmosphere in the car.”

So maybe driver assistance features won’t make you a better driver, but they might shut up the person who thinks that even though you’re behind the wheel they think they can do a better job. Until, of course, fully self-driving cars arrive. Then backseat drivers will probably get the smackdown from virtual assistants for yelling things like “Hey Siri, why didn’t you take 4th street? Everybody knows it’s the better way to get there.”