8 Simple Rules For Riding Shotgun In My Car On Road Trips #travel

8 Simple Rules For Riding Shotgun In My Car On Road Trips

I travel a lot. And a lot of the time, that is road tripping by car. Sometimes I ride solo, but most of the time someone rides with me. Generally people are respectful of my car but sometimes I get that person who is just too comfy in my car and forgets that it is MY car and not theirs. So, I submit to you these long overdue rules for shotgun riders.

I generally never let anyone else drive my car now {I learned a hard lesson about that when I shared driving responsibilities with someone who insisted on texting while driving in my car}. So, since I generally shoulder all of the responsibility, I usually pay all of the gas costs, it’s wear and tear on my car and it’s usually for a trip that I set up that the passenger generally pays very little or nothing for, I feel that it’s perfectly fine to lay down some rules for riding shotgun in my car. I mean, if the only thing I had to do was chill the entire time, taking in the lovely scenery, napping, reading or whatever, I would totally be up for whatever the driver said. But perhaps that’s just me. Thus, I feel the need to share these rules.

8 Simple Rules For Riding Shotgun In My Car On Road Trips

Rules For Riding Shotgun In My Car

*Remember, if you don’t like the rules of someone else’s car, you always have the option of driving yourself.

1. Don’t Touch The Air Settings – Yes. I know it’s set on 60 degrees all the time. I am also aware that you have vents that you can close on your side of the car as well as in the back two rows of seating. I have asthma and 60 degrees helps me breathe better. Also, I get tired when I drive. The hotter I am, the more tired I am. I think a breathing, fully awake driver is just a smidge more important than whether you are at your optimal comfort level. What would you do if I went in your house and adjusted the thermostat? And there are these awesome inventions called jackets. Bring one.

2. Don’t Ask Me To Pull Over When The Traffic Is Crazy – I recently had a passenger who refused to go to the bathroom when we were leaving a hotel in a major city. Not 30 minutes later this passenger was telling me to pull over since they had to go to the bathroom immediately! We hadn’t even left the city! I pulled over, and was terrified when I pulled back out into traffic. That won’t happen again. Go when the opportunity is there or be prepared to cross your legs and pray. I stop every 1-2 hours, so it’s not that long between stops anyway.

3. Don’t Touch The Radio – In my car, whoever is driving chooses the music. Why? Because I say so. Also the driver is doing all the work. We can choose together if you like, but don’t just change it to whatever you want to hear with no regard for me. Again, I am doing you a solid driving all the way. I am not there to also entertain you and cater to your every wish. If my music sucks {which it doesn’t} feel free to bring headphones and a listening device of your own. Amber and Mackenzie always do this and never complain about it. Also, don’t adjust the volume or the station dial. In my car we jam. Or we don’t. I decide. Unless, of course, you want to pay my car note. Then you can decide. What? No takers?

*Currently in my car we listen to Journey, Blake Shelton, Britney Spears {the club mixes when we need to wake up}, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5 and Foreigner. But that is subject to change at any moment. But if you love one of these, feel free to suggest it. If you don’t, feel free to pop your headphones in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

4. Don’t Text And Drive – I mean, seriously, who even needs to be told this? If you are a person that values a text more than you do the lives of people in the car and around you, I really won’t be able to explain this to you anyway. I will just never be in another car with you driving. Ever. Sadly I think that the only thing that might get people who do this to drive safer is a cop pulling you over, issuing you the most crazy, expensive ticket known to man and then a judge taking your license. I just hope this all happens before you kill someone.

5. Be Ready To Leave On Time – If I am driving somewhere and I say 5pm, I mean 5pm. Not 5:10. And certainly not 6PM. This has been a constant problem with people that I have offered to drive to functions that I have set up. I am definitely not trying to be ugly but if I worked for you, you wouldn’t want me arriving 10 minutes late everyday would you? Your tardiness reflects poorly on me and I am no longer willing to accept that. You don’t have to take part in any functions that I set up, but if you do, be on time. Or I will leave without you. Trust.

6. If You Make A Mess, Clean It Up – I think this goes without explanation. If you drop chips all in the floor, please clean them up. If you spill your drink, clean it up – or at least make an attempt. There is no magic clean up fairy that takes care of all of this. It’s me or Jay. And that means it’s usually Jay. He generally cleans my car up super nice for trips and I really don’t want to bring him a mess of chocolate all over the place and chips all over the floor that I obviously didn’t do. There is also a small trash can, tissues and baby wipes in my car at all times – so you really don’t have an excuse not to at least make an attempt to clean the mess that you made up.

7. Help Me Merge On To The Interstate – I once had a person in the shotgun seat who would get so upset when I would ask them to see if it was OK for me to merge onto the interstate. I know it’s hard chilling and relaxing the whole trip while someone else does all the work, but every few hundred miles, offering a 2nd pair of eyes won’t kill you. It might even save your life, lol. I drive a big Acadia. It’s a sexy car but that baby has some blind spots. Safety first people. You should also help with any other issues I have such as helping me look for road signs, exits, etc. Put your book down. Wake up from your nap. Actually stretch your neck muscles in the direction I am asking you to look. People, I am not your chauffeur. And you are certainly not paying me. If I need help, then help. Don’t be a jerk about it. Don’t worry, after your few minute contribution to our safety, you are welcome to go back to staring aimlessly at the landscape again thinking about the snack you will be having on our next stop.

8. No Smoking – Again, I have asthma. Smoking is a luxury for you. Breathing is a necessity for me. I can’t recall ever having someone just light up in my car, but I have had several people roll down the window at a stop, get out of the passenger side and then lean in my car or open door with a cigarette blowing smoke in my car. Seriously? Why don’t you kill me now? Please. Also, a car is fueled by gasoline. Gasoline is flammable. I, too, am flammable. Again, please kill me now.

The Times They Are Changing

From now on, I think anyone who wants to ride with me on a road trip anywhere will have to agree to all of these rules in advance. If they feel these are unfair or too much to ask, they can always drive themselves. Here are some more great rules to follow when riding shotgun. Feel free to follow these in my car, too. Calling shotgun is another thing entirely. Feel free to sit wherever you want in my car. I couldn’t care less.

Do You Have Rules For Shotgun Riders?

All of these rules came about because of personal experiences with shotgun riders. Perhaps there is something that I missed. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    These are awesome rules for trips. I totally agree with all of them. Asking for a little help from your shotgun rider is perfectly normal.

  2. I am a stickler for time management. If you are going to be late, you might as well not show at all.

  3. Dawn, I love that you speak your mind! Another rule, NO SLEEPING. If I have to be up to drive, then you have to entertain me to keep me awake! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I love it. Though sometimes I like the shotgun rider to go to sleep so I can have some “me” time, lol. Especially if they are annoying me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Ah…laughing so much about not touching the radio! That is like a major unwritten rule. In fact, shouldnt that be some written rule or law? Like – this is nothing to fool around with! Happy travels!

  5. Totally, right? If I could add an honorary ninth rule, it’s DON’T TELL ME HOW TO DRIVE! OK, that might follow “Don’t tell me to pull over when traffic is crazy” but seriously, when people are telling me how to maneuver on the road, I’m going to start looking for the ejector seat button!

  6. You and I would get along fine. I can so wear a sweater tso temps not an issue, I am helpful adn clean. I am always on time no correction I am usually 30 minutes early and I love and I mean Love your music choices. So we be good. When can we plan a trip together. Oh and one more thing I am so willing to buy food for both of us and snacks if you drive.

  7. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    Big yes on not touching the radio. I have it set on my eighties hits channel for a reason!

  8. I actually have the rule of no sleeping, LOL! If someone is next to me snoring away, it is super-hard for me to stay awake. I know, sad rule, but it is what it is ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Oh I totally agree with ALL of these! Also no telling me how to drive! Ugh so many pet peeves in this post lol!

  10. I am 100% with you on virtually all of these. It drives me insane when someone messes with the radio…especially if I am jamming to it when they change it!

  11. Kimberly Stroh says:

    This is so funny. I hate when my Husband falls asleep the entire time. We just returned from a long road trip and he did that!

  12. Oh man, 1 and 3 are totally me. I agree with the others as well but I smack people who touch the radio or the air settings.

  13. These are all great. I’d have to agree with them as well. I don’t allow smoking in my car ever. I can’t really be around it anyways because it bothers me a lot.

  14. Elizabeth Lampman says:

    These are great rules for riding shot gun. I definitely do not allow smoking in my car. I do not mind making stops for you to smoke.

  15. Lisa Bristol says:

    I do not have many rules for my car. Do not touch the stereo is the most enforced one I have.

  16. It is so hard to get the car to the right temp. I warn everyone not to touch the climate controls.

  17. These are such great tips. Awesome to have some rules laid out.

  18. Hey as long as people know the rules before they get in, I say more power to you.

  19. I am going to print these out and paste them to my dashboard! I am also going to add – leave room for my purse!

  20. I know you are serious, but it really is funny that people need to have rules so that they behave… I totally agree with you on so many points… For some reason when letting someone drive my car they do not seem to care about it as much as I do… This was fun to read…

  21. Thanks for the good tips.
    I like a lot of what you say here.

  22. The title of this post made me smile because I knew there would be some interesting things on the list. It is important ot have your own list of rules for all you do.

  23. These are so epic!! My kids are always fighting about who will ride shotgun and now they will both need to check out this post before vying for the front seat!

  24. I totally agree with ALL of these! Also telling me how to drive, I hate that!

  25. These are all great rules. The on time thing would be one of mine as well! I hate when people are late.

  26. Love these tips! And yes the perfect shotgun companion definitely should. Of text or lwr the driver text while driving!

  27. These are great tips for taking trips. I always believe that with road trips you should allow some time for stopping to explore, we’ve found some incredible things this way.

  28. I cannot understand when people smoke in this day. We know how terrible it is for you and I am always shocked when people still smoke. It does affect only them, but EVERYONE around them. I don’t want to get cancer because someone else has a nasty habit!

  29. I totally agree with you! If someone is riding shotgun in my car, they better not touch my temps. I set my temps just the way I like them ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. People ought to know their manners when traveling with a friend or with family. It’s good to have people who respects your rules, it’s your car after all. I really think these are all effective and helpful especially during long drives!

  31. Great rules! As a non-driver I usually always ride shotgun and am known as the car mascot! I wouldn’t dream of leaving a mess or being late!

  32. I love this! Especially the not touching the radio! Driver gets to pick the music.

  33. I think we would get along great. I’m so picky about what people do in such an enclosed space.

  34. I so agree with this! My hubby drives me nuts if he is riding shotgun, I make him drive just because he drives me so crazy otherwise.

  35. I haven’t had a problem before, but I so agree with you. Driver makes the rules!

  36. I don’t drive (I take public transportation) and when in the car with Hubby I usually will bring my headphones since he just wants to listens to sports lol..

  37. “Be ready to leave on time”…if I could click like on this one like 100 times I would! It drives me crazy when people that I’m driving don’t show up on time…it feels so inconsiderate!

  38. Yes! I totally agree with all of these. Especially the radio station one – that’s the most important!

  39. So funny and interesting that you have shotgun rules. Is it possible to have rules and not realize it? My kids call that just being bossy. Ha.

  40. I really love all these, especially 3 and 5. Those are the two I cannot compromise on. I love riding shotgun too, and it seems for every driver when they have someone riding shotgun, touching the radio is always a no-no!

  41. Nicole Escat says:

    These are nice rules. I have no car but I can truly relate! I am very careful especially when it comes to safety!

  42. I could literately print this out and hang it in my own car! I hate driving texters. Not worth it!

  43. Ok ok..I admit…I am a radio toucher…only when my husband is driving though….but his music is horrible ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. OMG yes don’t touch the AC or the radio! I’m making all the effort here as the driver so it’s all about me;)

  45. CourtneyLynne says:

    Haha i have a lot of the same rules! i hate when people mess with the air and absolutely no smoking!

  46. Of course it is very important to discuss the rules before a passenger comes in.
    We would not be able to travel together because of the AC. You need it for health reasons and I get ill after 10 minutes of being under AC… But we could listen to some music instead lol

  47. These are great rules and I think first-time drivers should read them. I totally agree with you about the “No smoking”. It makes me really annoyed when there’s someone smoking in the car. It brings bad smell to my car and it’s difficult to bring back fresh air. And sometimes, I do listen to music when I feel sleepy! Can’t drive a car when you want to sleep and you can make an accident!

  48. Definitely true! We all have our own rules that we don’t want anyone break them. Just imagine how annoyed will I feel when I’m in a traffic jam and someone keep telling me to hurry up. It’s too much for me.

  49. It’s necessary to have rules. I have even 10 rules and some are same as you. It’s my car at all and I need ppl’s respectation. However, your rules are great. I definitely agree.