I am a total paranoid freakazoid when riding as a passenger in a vehicle. After a 45 mile ride home tonight with a friend, I will try to be the driver on our excursions from now on. She had me grabbing the dashboard more than once while gabbing away and crossing the line on to the shoulder of the road. I am probably a bit over the top with my paranoia but it's something I can't seem to control. Just ask the hubbie. He swears he could drive with his eyes closed and just wait for my gasps of air before opening his eyes to make a correction. It's like an automatic reaction, like a knee jerking at the tap of a doctors mallet.
I can pinpoint at what point this disorder began. It wasn't the first car accident. In that one I came over a blind hill on a freeway only to discover a line up of stopped cars. I was able to slam on the brakes and stop in time but, unfortunately, the guy behind me wasn't able to stop before hitting my rear end. Nope, that wasn't the turning point. It was the next one. I was driving along one summer day with the windows open and a small plastic bag started moving around so I reached to grab it. In that split second of moving my attention from the road, I kept driving straight but the road was curving. I hit the gravel on the shoulder of the road, reacted by over-correcting the turn and landed head-on into a guard rail on the other side of the road. I wasn't hurt but the car was buggered up pretty good. That was the turning point. A great big dose of realization of my own mortality and how things can go bad in a blink of an eye, or the grab of a flying bag. It turned on an unhealthy switch of fear in me. It was reinforced a few years later when trying to get home on the icy freeway, and did a 360 degree spin in the middle of the road with my young nephew in the car beside me. Of course he thought it was cool but I was mortified until he was safely home.
I wish I could ride with someone without watching the road more than they do. Most times I feel I might as well be driving as much as I'm working at it as a passenger. I wish I could ride with my hubbie without barking at him when he does something unsafe. Of course my unsafe and his unsafe are two different stories. You'd think I could trust his driving prowess after he's done the 100-mile-a-day commute for the past 20-something years with only one icy road slide into the ditch. I'm sure he wishes the same thing.