Who is your best driving partner on long drives?

Who is your best driving partner on long distance drives?


Who do you want  sitting next to you in the front of your car on a long distance driving trip?  Who will be your driving partner? Husband, girlfriend, stranger, sibling, parent?As part of your preparation it is worth thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of a life partner team, long standing friends of either same or opposite sex, relative strangers or a parent-child team.  Do you prefer to be the principal driver or the navigator? Who will take the responsibility for route directions? Mechanical maintenance? Paying the bills? Checking the luggage? Many combinations are successful depending on your own personality, aspirations and  experience. And I will add here too, your sense of humour.

Let me explain further. One day at a motor club meeting, a business man in his early forties was with his girlfriend and  mentioned that he’d like to tackle the next Peking to Paris Motor Challenge which is run every few years. It is an international event run over several weeks with time and reliability trials as well as challenging road and driving conditions. He wanted his brand new girlfriend to be his co-driver. I caught her eye and she grimaced at me. She was obviously madly in love with her new man, but had very little motoring experience and was not competitive and wasn’t excited  about possible camping or humble lodgings en route. I briefly explained that one needed to be self – sufficient; mechanically, physically and mentally with a strong team approach and wished them well. I’m not sure what they decided or whether their relationship would survive.

When times are tough, I’ve seen a driver and navigator get out of the car and have fisticuffs or leave one behind on the roadside. Yes, it is rare. However even with years of experience with driving with my husband, I still experience  ‘instant divorce moments’ and  mutter, ‘ I’m supposed to be enjoying myself. I am on holiday. Did I pay good money to be here?  But things do go wrong. That is when a sense of humour is helpful, as is  understanding and managing  each other’s reactions and foibles.

Some questions you could ask yourself  and your driving partner are;

  • Do I have a serious petrol head sitting next to me?
  • If I do.. how will it affect my holiday?
  • How competitive am I?
  • What are my priorities?
  • What is my attitude to time? deadlines?
  • What is my personality type?
  • How do I respond to stress? What are my trigger points?
  • What is the best way to manage stressful situations?

A dear friend of mine says he never drives long distances with his wife as they always have huge fights.  Sat Nav devices such as a Tom Tom or Garmin have saved many serious divorce moments and reduced stress inside the car cabin. But beware that even Sat Navs can be wrong especially in rural areas.

Preparation is always the key for successful long distance driving. So give thought to who will be your driving partner, remembering that your particular small team needs to survive day after day, cramped in a small car space dealing with many road and driving conditions. You  want value for your holiday time and time and to finish the drive with happy memories.



About Jeanne Eve

Jeanne Eve lives in Australia and enjoys long distance driving to new places combined with her love of travel, writing, eating and fun company. In former times, she was a speech pathologist so appreciates the desire for good health and effective communication. She is married and has two daughters and two step-sons.

3 comments on “Who is your best driving partner on long drives?

  1. Excellent question. Darling Hubby (DH) and I both love to drive,.. in fact we probably fight more about “whose turn it is”. I can never take a nap when DH is behind the wheel. He on the other hand will doze on long trips. I hate sat nav and pre-pan my trip. DH uses sat nav and boy, have we ended up in some not so great places. We have a developed a reasonable successful pattern. If we are going anywhere – I drive. Return trip – he drives. And we always agree in advance on the next (approx) 2 hour stop for long distance and change over. A golden long distance rule – he or she who is driving, chooses the music/book on CD/ or chat. Long trips we always have 10yr DD too – so pack the snacks! Lastly …. if mumma has her coffee… everyone is good 🙂

    • Great tips here. Chuckled at your golden rule on music choice. Recently I spoke to an elderly man who said the only time he could enjoy his favourite music was driving solo as a travelling salesman in outback Australia.

  2. To do a really long rally like Peking to Paris, it’s advisable NOT to take a Partner, life long friend or even a lover, as sure as eggs is eggs there’ll be an argument and that could spell the end of even a very firm relationship.
    The best person to take is a mild to good acquaintance the reason for this is that if it all goes horribly wrong you don’t lose someone close to you, however your co-driver must be able to turn a spanner, drive the car you’re in and most importantly of all they must have a sense of humour.
    Humour will over come all sorts of problems, here’s an example.
    I was asked to do P to P in 1997 by my dear friend E. V. (I hardly knew him then) and on the first day sitting in the car waiting to leave I said to him we need to get something straight. “OK” this is your car. “yes” and you’re paying for everything. “yes” and you invited me to come with you. “Yes” so what that means is if anything goes wrong it’s your fault. “WHAT” oh yes it just clears up any blames straight away instead of arguing about it later ha ha ha ha. And you know what when we did have a problem, we just laughed and E.V. would say “oh I think that was my fault”

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