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Entertaining the Driver

Entertaining the Driver

    I give you the following question of etiquette. You and one friend/spouse/relative are driving somewhere. You’re the driver. The passenger whips out his or her phone and uses your car as a mobile phone booth for the duration of the trip, reasoning that this is an ideal time to return some calls and get things done.

    As the driver, you can’t listen to music, as this would interfere with the phone conversation. And you can’t have a conversation of your own because the only other person in the car is busy. Is the passenger displaying bad etiquette?

    Let’s all agree that a few short calls to handle time-sensitive business would be agreeable in all cases. But let’s say for this example that it’s a one-hour drive, and most of it is taken up by phone calls. Is that bad etiquette?

    Now suppose the passenger asks in advance if you would mind enduring this situation. He or she has lots of things to take care of, and you both know that you probably wouldn’t be blabbing with each other anyway. Does that make it okay?

    Put another way, does the passenger have some obligation to keep the driver entertained?

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