Comparative and Contributory Negligence

7.12 – Duty of Passenger in Automobile

7.12 Duty of Passenger in Automobile

A passenger in an automobile must act with the same amount of care and caution for her/his own safety as an ordinary careful person would exercise under like circumstances. A passenger has the right to assume that the driver will exercise proper care and caution in driving the automobile. Until a passenger knows, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, that the driver is incapable of operating the automobile or is operating the automobile in a negligent manner, there is no duty for the passenger to supervise the driving, to keep a lookout for danger, or to warn of a danger of which a passenger reasonably believes the driver is aware.

However, while the passenger ordinarily has no duty to control or direct the driver, there is a point where reliance upon the driver ends and the duty to act begins. Thus, when it should become apparent to a reasonably careful person that the vehicle is being driven negligently, the reasonable passenger must protest or otherwise persuade the driver to drive carefully. Further if such protests are disregarded, there is a duty for the passenger to leave the car when a reasonable opportunity is afforded, if you determine that a reasonably careful person would do so under similar circumstances.

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