I sometimes get together with some friends I have in common with a relative and in those events, this specific friend which I will name Bob.


When we want to go somewhere, Bob always offers a ride, because he is the only one of the group that has a 5 (five) seater car. He offers it for free and always rejects any kind of contribution to gas and other related costs.

This would be good and I always appreciate the kind gesture but... he is not the best driver and I don't feel safe when he drives.

I even comment with him some of the situations that happen in the trip but he just has the reaction of "laughing it off" and it didn't matter...


I would like Bob to know that I prefer to take my car (2-seater) to the place and I want him to know why. I would appreciate a graceful, non rude way to tell him. How can I do it?

What I tried already: Last time, I told him I would be there earlier because I had to buy some stuff and the mall (which I had to and it was the place where we would meet) but he offered to go earlier and Bob eventually carried us all there. This isn't the approach I wanted but that's what I remembered at the time...

3 Answers 3


Use your words in a polite, truthful and unequivocating manner.

Thanks, but I'd prefer to take my own car.

By not offering an explanation there is no way for them to argue with your statement. As soon as you say "because reason" you've left an opening for your friend to propose an alternative solution that still addresses your reason.

If your friend truly is a poor driver then it would be good to tell them. If they keep pressing the issue after your refusal it might be a good idea to say something simple and direct to that effect like:

I don't feel safe riding in your car.

Framing it in this way has you expressing your feeling instead of passing judgement on your friends driving, by not blaming him you are removing pressure for him to defend himself which increases the likelihood of a productive conversation.

  • 1
    Even better if you can maneuver the frank conversation so that it's private, saving Bob from the need to save face. Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 21:43
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    "I don't feel safe riding in your car." strongly points the finger at Bob; maybe an approach like "I feel safer when I'm in control and driving my own car" addresses part of the "I want him to know why" (feeling unsafe, wanting to feel safer), while giving Bob the out of believing it could be anybody's driving not just his. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 0:31
  • 4
    I think it's very important to take the direct approach here with Bob. If he's not driving in a safe manner he needs to know so he can improve. Otherwise he's putting everyone in danger. Great answer @sphennings!
    – Maerus
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 5:07
  • @TessellatingHeckler The important lesson is to say "I feel..." instead of "you do....", or "you are..." there may be better ways of packaging the sentiment but by talking about how the OP feels they are avoiding casting judgment on their friend. I statements are a powerful and underused tool.
    – sphennings
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 5:07
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    I have to agree with this perspective. Thank you for your answer. It's all relative. I might consider it unsafe while others might not. I think that's the key point. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 13:22

I've been in that situation before, and my explanation was that I simply don't like to depend on others for transportation. We've all been in situation where you've gone to an event with a group of friends, get tired, want to go home, but the group is having a good time, and you have to wait around such that you don't ruin their experience.

So when friends would push me as to why I wanted to drive myself I'd say:

You: It's happened every now and again that I have to take off early, and I don't want to impose on you guys.
Him: Oh, but it's OK!
You: Thanks for offering, it's very kind, but I just like being self-dependent.

Gently stand your ground, and you'll be fine. It's not rude to want to drive your own vehicle to an event.

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    The problem with lying is that your friend addresses the lie instead of the real problem. "Oh, you never seem to leave early. If it ever does happen, I'd still be happy to take you home." Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 22:15
  • @DavidRicherby: I think it's a good idea to say that you like being self-dependent, because this is a need that is not addressed even if your friends promise to help you when you ask. I still wouldn't feel self-dependent in that case no matter how hard they'd promise.
    – a3nm
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 10:35
  • @davidricherby - it's not a lie, however. I, personally, really do like being self-reliant. Telling someone that you don't feel safe with them behind the wheel will most likely spark an unpleasant conversation, which should probably be had under different circumstances.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 16:07
  • Its not a lie when you say it. But the asker is clear that their motivation is personal safety and for them to claim some other motivation would be untruthful. Also, the asker’s friend has already demonstrated that they’re willing to go out of their way to help: if they’ll take the asker to the mall to solve the “I need to go to other places first” excuse, they’ll leave the party early to solve the “I might need to leave early” excuse. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 17:21

Keep it focused to your personal feelings rather than a problem with Bob's performance as a driver.

"Hey Bob, if it's fine with you, I'd prefer to drive this time."

If he fights it:

"I'm just a picky passenger, and other peoples driving usually makes me uneasy, so I'd feel a lot better tonight if I drove us to the event."

If he still insists on driving, consider one of two things...

  1. Be honest about why you will not be allowing him to drive you anywhere, but kindly. Use 'I' statements in the traditional "I feel ______ when you _____ because _________" to help illustrate your feelings without putting Bob on the spot.

"Honestly, I feel unhappy when you drive me because I get nervous when you 'X'... I really appreciate you offering to drive, but I'd feel better and more eager to hang out tonight if I drove instead."

  1. Give him one more chance, preparing him with the knowledge that you're a sensitive/picky passenger and that you don't want to keep riding with him if he's going to do 'X' (whatever bothers you) while you're riding with him.

"If I'm going to ride with you tonight, could you please avoid doing 'X'? I know it's not a big deal to everyone else, but it's why I usually enjoy driving myself instead of riding with anyone else."

The key in all of these quotes is that you are focusing on why you are showing hesitation and not on the fact that you consider Bob a bad driver.

  • Thank you for your answer. I think this is a realistic approach. Alert him about my concerns and if behavior continues Bob will know why I don't accept the ride. Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 13:24
  • @OneEyedBandit I think so too. As someone who has been in Bob's shoes, sometimes I laugh things off because it was an "oops" for me and I don't understand I actually scared a passenger. I try to take things more seriously if someone lets me know it wasnt an "oops" for them too!
    – Jess K.
    Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 13:48

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