Dear Captain Awkward,
I have a wonderful fiancée. She’s compatible with me in every single way and we’re looking forward to starting our lives together. Save one little thing. She’s possibly the worst driver in the world and I can’t get my license until awhile after the wedding for reasons I prefer not to get into.
She’s had multiple accidents. She regularly swerves into other lanes then can’t figure out how she got there. She follows far too closely–she’s under the impression that, at highway speeds, safe following distance is ‘you can see their wheels.’ She texts, Tumblrs, checks her email, all while driving.
I tried suggesting that we get her a dash mount for her phone so she can still use the GPS without having the distraction of phone-in-hand. She says she likes having it in her hand and won’t put it down.
She loves to drive, loves road trips and wants me to go road tripping with her. She’s absolutely convinced she’s an amazing driver and no amount of me trying to gently offer suggestions to correct her driving has managed to convince her she might have a problem. I’m absolutely terrified when she’s behind the wheel. I’m an excellent driver who took defensive driving courses before getting my full license as a proactive step, but, as stated, I cannot drive right now.
How do I get her to understand that I’m terrified she’s going to die in a fiery crash, without offending her?
Ruining the interior with my fingernails
Dear Ruining the Interior:
“Without offending her” there is no way to have this conversation. She thinks she is a great driver. You think she is a terrible driver.Based on the whole texting/reading Tumbler/checking email thing, I think she is a terrible driver + an ENORMOUS PIECE OF SHIT MOTHERFUCKING ASSHOLE. How fucking entitled do you have to be to behave like this? She should be arrested and have her license revoked, and if I were in the position to make that happen, I would do so, with pleasure. No love.
The only scripts I can think of go like this:
“Reading/Texting while driving is illegal, please stop doing it.”
“Okay, let me out please.”
:You take cab home or call a friend to pick you up:
:Huge fight ensues – if you’re lucky, AFTER you are out of the car.:
“I am terrified to get in a car with you, and I refuse to do it until you take x, y, and z measures to improve your driving” where X= phone is OFF and AWAY, Y = driving lessons and Z = 6 months without any kind of moving violation or dangerous behavior, maybe you’ll revisit the decision about whether to ride with her.
:You refuse to get in a car with her:
:You take the bus everywhere, assuming there is even a bus:
:Huge fight ensues:
Or you could try “I do not feel safe riding with you. You do (example) things that are unsafe”
“No, I’m a great driver!”
“Ok, this is a problem, because your idea of yourself as a great driver does not hold up in reality. Do you want to hold onto that image of yourself, possibly at the cost of your or someone else’s life, or do you want to fix it?”
:Huge argument ensues:
Here is the problem. This isn’t a tiny difference of opinion, a quirk, or an “agree to disagree” kind of thing. Your “wonderful, fully compatible” fiancée is a giant piece of shit motherfucking asshole around this one issue, and she puts herself, anyone in the car with her, and anyone on the road with her at risk. I am not a wizard, I don’t have a “stop being an asshole” or “correct that magical thinking, please” wand to lend you. I wish I did. You can’t control her behavior. You can sort of mitigate how much it affects you by not putting your safety in her reckless hands, you can set a boundary and enforce it with lots of time on public transportation, you can tell her straight up how you feel, you can hope that she will see your point and be convinced of how very, very dangerous her behavior is.
Maybe Werner Herzog and/or the commenters can convince her, where you and I might fail:
He made a documentary about people who have hurt & killed others while texting and driving. It’s sad stuff. I hope not to see your fiancée in a similar one some day.