Great Drivers Make The Worst Passengers

Great Drivers Make The Worst Passengers

Some people were born to be drivers, while others were born to be passengers; but they’re hardly ever both.  It’s something you discover when you start learning to drive.  I took to the driver’s seat like a fish to water.  Even as a little kid, long before seatbelt laws and car seats for kids, my brother would sit me on his lap and let me steer the car, while he controlled the pedals.  He was in full control of course, but I felt like I was driving and it was awesome!

Later in life, even if I trusted the driver, my right foot was active almost all the time ghost braking.  It got worse after I got my own car and it became incredibly stressful for me to be a passenger.  Most times I’d meditate or take a nap.  No seriously, I’ve learned the art of knocking myself out in the passenger seat; a trick that’s come in very handy on airplanes.  Click the seatbelt, fold my arms and zzzzz…snoring optional.

Karun Chandok scares Scares Vicki Butler-Henderson

Vicki Butler-Henderson can’t look while Karun Chandhok drives (Photo Credit: Fifth Gear)

I’ve happily discovered that it isn’t just me, as professional drivers apparently also make terrible passengers; and thanks to onboard video we can chuckle at their discomfort.  The first is a Honda course preview from NBC Sports before the IndyCar race in Toronto, Canada.  Driver-turned-commentator Townsend Bell took Formula 1 broadcaster, Steve Matchett along with him.  Who knew that the former mechanic would have such a hard time?  I felt his pain and laughed at it.

Top Gear USA's Taxis

Top Gear USA’s Taxis

This one is a classic because Top Gear USA’s Tanner Foust is notorious for terrorising passengers in whatever he’s driving.  My friend Kristin Berkery of Rallycross 360 found this out first-hand during a ride-along with him last year.  In this case it was champion GT driver and fellow TV dude, Justin Bell.  They took turn making each other sick.  Brilliant!

Well I couldn’t put up a video with a Top Gear presenter without balancing it off with a Fifth Gear presenter.  Here’s Vicki Butler-Henderson getting the stuffing scared out of her, by former Formula 1 driver, Karun Chandhok.  The tables got turned and needless to say, he didn’t handle it well either.

Speaking of former Fomula 1 drivers freaking out in the passenger seat, here’s David Coulthard taking a lap of the famed Nürburgring with current ace (and cutie), Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes SLS AMG sports car.  Coulthard’s outbursts were outrageous and I loved the way he exited the car.  It reminded me of the little girl in The Pacifier screaming, “Land!” as she threw herself out of the minivan.

Hat tip to my friend Jen for this one; which gets major points from me, because rally legend Ari Vatanen reminds me of my Dad when I’m driving.  He was so retrained but there was terror in his eyes.  I mean, you could see that he was screaming on the inside while being driven by his son, Max.  We couldn’t hear the headsets’ audio feed where he was telling his son, “Brake, brake!”

See, it’s okay to be a terrible passenger because it means that you’re a great driver.  Right?