11 Tips for Traveling With a Highly Sensitive Passenger That Will Keep Everyone Happy

Gabby Reeder

Scared woman in back seat of car

We all have that relative who backseat drives, screaming at us to stop the car 2,000 feet before hitting the one in front of us. The aunt who says her Hail Marys when the plane takes off, terrifying every passenger around her, or the uncle who warns you about riding any public transportation to avoid the slight possibility of disaster. Recently, a member on an internet forum asked the best way to soothe themselves while traveling amid a chronic worrywart. Here are the best tips from seasoned travelers.

1. Talk to Her Like a Child

Daughter talking to mother
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A user mentioned their sensitive child's ability to yell at them during stressful traffic, which caused them to get upset until they spoke with the child about the way their language can propel a dangerous situation. This user suggests the family member sit down with the woman and inform her of the harm this behavior can cause.

2. Look For Other Modes of Transportation

Middle aged woman in train
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If you aren't the one in charge of the vehicle, the blame won't be cast on your shoulders. A bunch of members advise the travelers to search for other modes of transportation such as train, bus, subway, or anything where someone else is operating a vehicle.

3. Put Her in the Back Seat

Worried scared woman passenger sitting on back seat of car
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A respondent shares that his wife used to act in this startling behavior, so he began threatening to assign her to a permanent back seat status. This way, she thought about her actions before scaring him into an accident or dangerous incident with other cars.

4. Ask Her To Find Other Transportation

Woman talking to older woman
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After speaking with the aunt and finding out she cannot handle herself in any situation (this is a hypothetical case, of course), you can alert her to find other modes of transportation with those she won't affect. It is not worth a potential accident to drive with someone who can't handle their reactions.

5. Hum

Man driving and listening to music
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A great exercise to redirect behavior is humming. A jetsetter claims that every time their anxious relative speaks out about their driving, they hum in a calming tone. When the relative tries to talk over the hum, they increase the volume, which soothes both passengers.

6. Be More Vocal

Woman passenger talking to driver
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Explain which direction you will turn or progress before making the move. This way, the passenger knows when you will make subtle—or not-so-subtle— movements, and their inability to act subtly won't startle you. You can map out the route and go through it with her before you get on the road.

7. Always Have Snacks

Woman eating burger in car
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Who can be upset when they're indulging in the best snacks? (Yes, I know food doesn't sway everyone's mood, but it has the possibility to, at least for some individuals). Ask the woman her favorite snacks, or bring a variety in the car so she has something to distract herself with.

8. Conduct Breathing Exercises With Her

Woman doing Breathing exercise
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Since this woman's behavior affects herself and the driver, both will benefit from participating in breathing exercises. Whenever either party feels anxiety creeping up on them, they can launch into beneficial breathing exercises to bring their heart rate down.

9. A Weighted Stuffed Animal

Stuffed animals
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A globetrotter speaks about their go-to method.

“A weighted stuffed animal. Seriously. I have similar issues like this from an old car accident. I get freaked out, and I know it stresses out my partner when he drives. I got a weighted stuffed animal from Target, and it gives me something to squeeze and makes me less likely to gasp audibly.”

10. Engage in Conversation

Couples in back seat talking
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One of the best forms of distraction is conversation. Tap into one of the aunt's interests and speak with her about it in-depth until you get to your destination. If she begins to show signs of fear, redirect her focus back to her favorite subjects.

11. See a Doctor

Woman with doctor
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If all of the above suggestions fail, it is time to take the woman to a medical professional. She may experience something that needs medical attention and requires medication to quell. Driving anxiety is no joke and can be detrimental to every party involved.

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Preflight rituals
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Source: Reddit.

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