Chatting while behind the wheel

When I’m talking to someone, I’m definitely all about the eye contact. Excessively so, perhaps – sometimes it’s clear I’m making the other person uncomfortable, and I’ll have to consciously keep reminding myself to looking away.

When I’m talking to someone as I’m driving, though, I don’t look at them at all – I’m watching the road, checking the rearview mirrors, and watching the road some more.

It makes me very, very nervous when I’m a passenger with someone who keeps looking at me when they’re driving. I have been known to say “Don’t look at me – look at the other cars, dammit!”

I was behind a guy of the “look at who you’re talking to, rush hour traffic be damned” persuasion for a few miles this morning, and it was driving me batshit – and I wasn’t even in the same truck.

What’s your feeling?

Especially in movies where the driver looks away from the road to whoever is in the passenger seat for half a minute or longer. Drives me nuts!

(This might add to the excitement in Those annoying cliches in movies and TV shows).

I’m one of the look straight ahead brigade, with maybe the odd quick glance at my passenger when on the open road with no other traffic near. I even sometimes clam up like an idiot in the middle of a conversation if I have to really concentrate on what is going on. I know that people travelling in my car for the first time sometimes find it weird.

I find the best conversation with kids happens in the car precisely *because *of the lack of eye contact. I can get anyone’s kids to spill their guts over a long car ride - even my laconic 13 year old boy. (But the best is putting the kids in the backseat together and just listening. It’s like they think it a limo with one of those soundproof windows between them and the front seat. I’ve gotten a lot of hot teen gossip and startling personal insights that way!)

I absolutely have to look at someone when they’re talking in order to hear and understand them, so I have a difficult time in cars, whether driving or riding. The noise from the radio, the engine, the tires, and the cars around us all add to that. I hate being in the backseat because I miss out on so much.

Sheesh, talking while driving? Impossible! Hub can’t even listen to music and drive at the same time!

I see that as a character defect and frequently point it out; it pleases him so much! I’m considerate that way.

I know I lose concentration when talking, much less looking at the passenger.
I’ve never missed my exit when I wasn’t talking, but always do when I am.

Sorry, but there’s no excuse to be talking on the phone while driving. That’s just an accident (and an annoyance to others) waiting to happen.

Uh, I see now that you meant chatting with people who are in the car. Sowwy, I’ll try to read better. :smack:

Exactly the same here. I have no compunctions about saying “Hang on a second” when there’s really heavy traffic, and then tuning out if they continue speaking, until things get back under control. My family and friends are used to it, but I have noticed a couple of startled looks from new acquaintances.

This bugged me to no end when I was in HS. One of my friends insisted on telling me all of the personal stuff you’re not supposed to say around parents, when we were in the back seat of my dad’s car. Cigarettes, sex, anything at all, like he wouldn’t be able to hear us.

BTW, I too am of the clam-up-when-I-have-to-concentrate persuasion. You gotta do it. Some things are just more important than the conversation.

I’m with you twicks, and have told officer seat riders to STFU unless they have an important message to convey. Maybe it’s me, but I can drive for hours without uttering a peep, and other folks can’t shut it for 30 seconds.

I think it’s usually just understood that there might be pauses as the driver pays more attention to something happening on the road, the conversation resumes naturally when whatever that attention-needing thing was has passed. Eye contact shouldn’t be expected while driving, it’d weird me out as a passenger to find the driver looking at me instead of traffic. It’s like conversing when there are small children around, the conversational flow gets interrupted and continues when possible, no biggie.

I pay attention to the road and also give people a verbal “hang on a minute” if things get busy while driving. I don’t often have passengers but I really prefer them to keep chatter to a minimum. Helping to watch for cops and random pedestrians wandering out into the road is always appreciated.