15 Unspoken Etiquette Rules That Every Car Passenger Should Know

Published by on . Updated on 3 Nov 2023
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How well do you conduct yourself in someone else's car?

Fancy yourself a good car passenger? If you have a habit of snacking in the back, or if you're always fiddling with the radio, sorry, but you probably aren't the ideal passenger. To show you how to properly conduct oneself in another person's car, we've put together a simple etiquette guide. Some of these points are more obvious, while others are slightly more obscured. Check out the list below to find out how you can become a more polite passenger.

1) If someone loans you their car, show your appreciation by refilling their fuel tank

This rule still applies even if you drove a short distance.

2) It is rude to sit in the back seat if you are alone in a vehicle with a friend who’s driving

Is your friend a taxi driver? No? Then don’t treat them like one. And couples, please don't get cozy in the backseat and leave your poor driver friend alone in front.

3) Always offer the front seat to someone who is “more important”

“More important” individuals include the driver’s parents, significant other, or boss. You are also expected to offer the front seat to someone who is more senior than you.

4) Adults in front. Kids at the back



If you are travelling with young children, they should always be seated at the back. This is for safety of everyone on-board.

5) If you are a passenger, do not touch the car’s controls without the driver’s permission

This is the number one pet peeve of many drivers. Do not mess around with the car’s console without permission. That’s like going to a dance club and putting on your own music.

6) Seat belts are mandatory, not optional

If you're a responsible adult, you wouldn't need to be told to wear your seat belt.

7) Don’t fiddle around with someone’s glovebox or door pockets

Unless the driver asks you to look for something, it’s best to keep your hands to yourself. Don't intrude on the driver's personal space and property.

8) Keep your feet off the dashboard and seat

Are you a small child or young toddler? If no, your feet and shoes have no business to be on the dashboard or seat.

9) Don’t be a litterbug

Leaving rubbish in someone else’s car is plain rude. That’s like leaving your trash on the floor in someone’s house.

10) No eating in the car

Unless your mate says it’s okay, you better save that McDonald’s cheese burger until you get home.

11) No smoking either!

Hold back your urge to light one up. Ask for permission only if the driver is smoking.

12) No backseat driving



There’s nothing more infuriating than a passenger who won’t stop criticising the driver’s ability to drive.

13) If a “bro” offers to help you move stuff, you should repay his kindness with beer

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The same courtesy should be extended for other car-related favours.

14) Hands off the glass

No one likes to see hand smudges on their car. When opening the door, always remember to use the door handles. Oh, and don’t press your fingers on the glass to point things out.

15) My car, my rules



The car owner always has the final say. Not happy? Take a cab.

Did we miss any other important rules of etiquette for passengers? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more: How to Change a Flat Tyre


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Good morning. I trust you are doing well today? I want to ask you something and I need an immediate answer please. This is the question : If I'm walking by the roadside and luckily somebody I know let's say an honourable man wants to give me a ride, where rightfully must I sit? The back seat or front seat? Thank you

over 2 years ago

Eontee Yk
In my car rules has to be naked. XD

about 6 years ago

Daniel Tan
Rule: Close the door with just enough strength. Do not slam, nobody owes you anything. It is not a taxi either.

over 6 years ago

Amos Low
Haha, I like rule #15: My car, my rule, high 5 :)

over 6 years ago