DEAR ABBY: My wife is a back-seat driver who seems to get more anxious every time we go anywhere together. She tells me to slow down, which lights to watch, which lane I should be in, which cars are braking, which ones are speeding, where the semi-trucks are if she thinks they're getting too close, and how to drive in various weather conditions. She'll move her foot to an imaginary brake on the passenger side, squirm in her seat and hang onto the handle above the passenger door while I'm doing my best to concentrate on my driving. It's very distracting.
My wife is not willing to drive when we're going somewhere, although I have offered to let her. She also refuses to sit back and relax because you can't control another person's driving. If I ignore her, she becomes irritated and says I'm not paying attention to her concerns. I have never had a serious accident and have had none in the past 15 years. What can I do about this? -- DRIVEN CRAZY IN WISCONSIN
DEAR DRIVEN: For openers, slow down! When a passenger hangs onto the handle above the door, slams on an imaginary brake and scrunches back in the passenger seat, it means you're approaching the car ahead of you too fast and the person is bracing for impact.
Next, make clear to your wife before you pull out of the driveway that what she has been doing is distracting to the point that instead of averting an accident, she could very well cause one -- so it's important she leave the driving to the driver. If she is still uncomfortable, she should either sit in the back seat or the two of you should drive separately.