Ian W gives us a couple of hints and tips to make sure we’re at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to requesting passengers in vehicles.

Packets of Percy Pigs cluttered the car’s central console as we sped along the M40 towards Wales for one of my first kayaking trips.

Pink Percy Pig sweets were Michaela’s, the car driver, favourite confectionary and they were consumed voraciously throughout the journey and happily supplied by her three passengers by way of thanks for her driving us there and back. It’s the little things that mean a lot if you are a driver on a trip and it is really nice if your passengers put some thought and effort into the journey.

This article is an ‘aide memoir’ as to the ‘etiquette’ of being a passenger. It is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive but gives pointers as to what is ‘expected’.

You are either coming or you are not
Once you send an email to say you would like to come, you commit and agree to pay for it. Last minute cancelations happen for all sorts of reasons, but really try not to do them. Remember that it will increase the fuel cost for the remaining travellers; it causes the organiser increased work . Don’t be surprised if you are asked to pay for fuel in advance.

Hiring and picking up kit
If you are hiring kit for the weekend/trip, be at the club to load boats and kit. If this is impossible due to your schedule, then hire it beforehand and ask one of the passengers/driver to pick it up for you. Don’t make a habit of it.


Loading boats and kit
A lot of drivers, myself included, have a particular way of securing the boats with the straps. Asking how they would like them done is a small thing but shows that you are interested in making sure that the kit arrives in one piece at the destination. Make sure your kit is stowed in the vehicle. It is your responsibility.

Regents Taxi service
There isn’t one. If you are going on a trip, then it is your responsibility to arrive at the departure rendezvous at the allotted time. If your driver has offered to pick you up or drop you off elsewhere then this is at their discretion and not a right. I always exchange telephone numbers before the trip in case anybody runs into problems.

In the car
Percy Pigs are not my favourite but as a courtesy, bring some food/snacks that you can share. I don’t mind bottles of pop in the car but I do like them to be opened outside before we set of. By the way, Olga’s homemade pumpkin bread stands out! Having an occasional coffee bought for me at the toilet/fuel stops is a nice gesture and greatly appreciated.

I don’t mind passengers falling asleep. I just turn up my ‘dinosaur’ rock music to eleven. I know some drivers appreciate that at least one passenger is awake to have a conversation with.

Clean up
Take your rubbish with you. Coffe cups, sweet wrappers, etc.

Fuel costs
Before you set off, make sure you are aware as to how and when you will pay.

Over the years I must have taken hundreds of passengers and everyone has been great company but I know not every driver has been so lucky. So, please look after your driver and the vehicle, we all rely on them to get us there and back safely.