As I embarked on my 7-hour journey to the University of Kansas for the weekend, I realized that each person in the car has a certain job. There is no manager or supreme leader to make sure everyone is executing their job, but it is the unwritten rule that everyone will do them. From the driver to the shotgun passenger to the sleepers in the back, everyone has a vital role in making the road trip as smooth and as comfortable as possible.
Needless to say, this person needs to drive. They must focus on the road and not get too distracted by the passengers. A very important job for this person is bathroom checks. Everyone has different bladder systems, so the driver must check in with the passengers and ask if a stop is necessary when a rest area is within reach. The Driver must work with other passengers to look for speed traps up ahead.
First off, the shotgun passenger must claim the position. There is no sleeping when you're the shotgun passenger; your job is to make sure the driver stays awake by engaging in conversation if necessary. Most importantly, the shotgun passenger has possession of the aux cord. Only the shotgun passenger can delegate the aux cord to other passengers. If the shotgun passenger is not filling the car with sweet tunes, passengers in the car must rearrange as soon as possible so the car can maintain a comfortable ride. Who knows? What if the driver becomes enraged due to poor music choice and passes out? Nobody wants to take the chance of that. Shotgun is also in charge of directions; this person better be good with a map (or their iPhone, I suppose).
It's a backseat chiller, not a backseat driver, so one word guys: Snacks. The driver can't reach back and get their own snacks and the shotgun passenger has to focus on the tunes! The backseat chillers must distribute snacks when asked for. They also have rights to ask for music changes. Requests can be denied by the shotgun passenger. The backseat chillers are allowed to sleep, but they must be awake for departure and arrival. If backseat chillers are feeling very involved in the road trip, they are encouraged to start games within the car (i.e. I Spy, alphabet game, Monopoly -- very difficult to execute). All in all, the backseat chillers are just along for the ride and need to assist as much as they can.
This position is irreplaceable. Pets only have one job and one job only. Remember when I said that the passengers must look out for speed traps? Well, there is a chance that you may be stopped. The pet's job is to comfort the passengers, especially the driver, during this situation. If the pet acts cute enough, the pet could possibly jump up to the window that the state trooper is at and give them some puppy love. If successful, the pet deserves a belly rub. If unsuccessful, the pet still deserves a belly rub, because pets are cute!
Follow this plan and I assure you that your next road trip will be smooth sailing (but with an engine and four wheels, not actually a sail). In the end, just make sure you have fun while being safe!