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  • Writer's pictureaymexume

Road trip: five signs that you’re a great co-pilot

When I said that my road trip to New Jersey at the beginning of September would be lit, I meant that my auntie and my mom would make my cousin and I laugh with their stories about relationships and lougawou*, and their random comments.

I never thought that I would find my new favourite co-pilot. (Sorry, Hubs!) But it turns out that my cousin Pat—aside from being fluent in 4 languages, a great dancer and an all-around great person—is a rock star when it comes to being a co-pilot. I mean, Cousin Pat gave us our ETA on a regular basis, kept an eye on the GPS at all times and was in charge of making sure that I got my fair share of snacks.

Hubs is a great co-pilot, but Cousin Pat just went above and beyond. And, yes, the bit about the snacks tipped the scales. *shrug*

Here are, in my opinion, the 5 things that make a great co-pilot.

1. You don’t fall asleep (or only do so with the driver’s permission)

If I were to give only one job to the co-pilot it would be: staying awake. Keeping the driver awake and alert is the most important task a co-pilot has to accomplish.

I’ve driven relatively long distances on my own and kept myself entertained. But the minute there’s another person in the car, the energy changes. I feel like chatting or singing along. And if that person falls asleep, chances are that I’ll feel a bit drowsy.

2. Your playlist is lit (and by that I mean you play music the driver likes)

My personal preference is music I can sing/jam to. When I’m not listening to music, Maurice Sixto’s lodyans** are on repeat.

I’m all about playing music the driver enjoys. I find that this contributes to the overall goal of keeping the driver awake and alert.

3. You remain calm under pressure

The worst thing that can happen is for the co-pilot to panic in a hectic situation. Say, the driver misses a turn or an exit.

In a situation like this, it is up to the co-pilot to find an alternate route. The driver should be able to focus on driving without having to juggle with the navigation system. Were the driver alone, they may have had to pull over to figure. With a co-pilot on board, they shouldn’t have to.

4. You know how to use a GPS

If you’re good at using a GPS, you may not have to worry about #3.

My preference is for the co-pilot to know what the next 2 to 3 moves will be. In doing so, they can let the driver know when to switch lanes, which reduces the chances of missed exits and wrong turns.

5. You know how to pass snacks

Last, and certainly not least, keep the snacks coming! Keep the driver well fed and hydrated.

In your opinion, what makes a good co-pilot?

*Lougawou (probably from the French “loup-garou” which means werewolf): In Haitian folklore, human being who is evil and who may or may not be able to shapeshift, fly, kill, and all the above. Both my mom and my auntie grew up in Port-Salut, so their lougawou stories are bomb. The stories are a mix family feuds, star-crossed lovers, jealousy, etc. and an evil person doing evil deeds. Shakespeare has nothing on us!

**Lodyans: Storytelling. Maurice Sixto is a Haitian storyteller. His work is recorded.

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