Speak up if someone is driving dangerously. Be a PEACH!


You caught a ride with your best friend after school, but she pulls out her phone halfway down the road. You are shocked that she is being so irresponsible, but you usually avoid conflict. What do you do?

Your rideshare driver is weaving through traffic, tailing other cars, and speeding. You don’t know him but you don’t feel safe. What do you do? 

Your cousin picks you up from work, but you notice he’s not wearing a seat belt. You don’t want to seem ungrateful for the ride, but you want him to buckle up. What do you do?

When you’re riding in a vehicle, your life is in the driver’s hands.

In 2021, 273 passengers were killed on North Carolina roads (Source: NCDOT Crash Facts).

So, what do you do if you’re riding with someone and the driver is doing something dangerous? What can you say if you don’t feel safe? It can be difficult, and sometimes awkward, to confront other people about their driving, but it can potentially prevent a crash and/or save lives. 

You have the right and the responsibility to speak up if someone is driving dangerously. This makes you an empowered passenger! Just remember to be a PEACH.

The PEACH acronym can help you remember things to say if a driver is being unsafe. 

One easy way to encourage a driver to change their behavior is to remind them of the threat of a traffic ticket. For example:

I’ve seen a lot of cops out today, you might want to slow down.

My cousin got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt last week – I think they’re cracking down on that around here.

Sharing a story or a personal experience may also help to persuade a driver to be safe.

For example:

My friend got hit by someone driving distracted last week. It really freaked me out.

I read a story this morning about a family killed by a speeding driver. It was heartbreaking.

If you can think of joke, humor can also be used to call attention to something that isn’t safe.



Sometimes being direct is the best option. If you feel safe to confront the driver directly, tell them what is making you nervous and ask them to stop.

For example:

Hey, you’re driving really close to that other car’s bumper. It’s making me nervous. Can you please ease up?

Please don’t use your phone while you’re driving – I don’t feel safe.

In some cases, it may be easier to offer to help rather than confronting someone directly.

For example:

Here, let me type that for you so you can keep your eyes on the road.

Want me to call them and tell them we’re late so you don’t have to speed?

Lastly, if you have tried speaking to a driver and they continue to make dangerous choices, your safest option is to get out of the car (in a safe location) or refuse to ride with them again in the future.

Kids Learn How to Act on the Road By Watching You

Your child looks up to you and absorbs your behavior. That is why it is said that children start learning how to drive from the moment you turn their carseat facing forward! The good news is that you can help ensure your child is a safe driver years before they get a driver’s license. By modelling the habits that will keep them safe on the road, you teach them without making it a formal lesson.


Even very young children notice your behaviors when you travel. Help them to absorb safety habits by showing them the right things to do around traffic.


Explain your Thinking Process

As you are traveling, explain your decisions by using I statements. For example:


Oh look, the cars way up there are braking. I will slow down too.”

“Since it’s raining, it may be hard for people to see this car. I’m going to put on my headlights so they can see us.”

“There’s a pedestrian at that crosswalk! I’m going to stop and wave at her so she can cross safely.”

“That big truck may not be able to see my car, so I’m going to give it plenty of space.”


Imagine your Child with a Driver’s License

Even if your child will not start driving for another decade, he is already learning how to drive by watching you. If he spent years watching you text and drive, what do you think he will do once he gets his license? If the driving example in your family includes speeding, do you think he will follow the speed limit?




Make a Family Commitment 


Discuss safety rules with your family and commit to them together. Give your children permission to remind you of that commitment if they catch you doing something unsafe. By keeping each other accountable, your child will also learn how to speak up and advocate for her safety in other situations.



For more information on the Safe Routes to School project, visit: ncvisionzero.org/safe-routes-to-school/ 

For lesson plans, materials, and activities for walking and biking safety, visit: ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/safety/lets-go-nc/Pages/default.aspx