Yesterday I spent 12 hours behind the wheel of a Mazda5. My beautiful wife rode shotgun while my son, a human red flag on our road trip, sat strapped in the back kicking my seat (sorry Mazda).

During the trip I found myself on more than one occasion angered with my wife in her ability to serve my driving needs. Me, the driver, the most important person in the car during any road trip.

We came up behind a tractor-trailer full of new Tesla Model S sedans. “What are you doing? Get my phone! I need to tweet this!” I exclaimed over a cabin filled with road noise (Sorry again, Mazda).

Later, I asked for an update on where we were and if I needed to be aware of an exit. My wife fumbled around with the phone. “Uh, I don’t have service here” she said as I barreled down I-68 at 75MPH. Of course, we blew past our exit and I had to turn around.

This all got me thinking – what qualifications make for a good copilot on a road trip?


Three main functions of my copilot


Coffee is my unleaded plus. Like most vehicles, I don’t move very well without it. But when driving hot coffee can be dangerous. The same can be said about eating, which I try to keep to minimum while driving, but snacking is a must when on long bouts of interstate. For whatever reason, long, mind numbing stretches of asphalt through the heart of Middle America make me crave beef jerky, Mountain Dew and pork rinds.


My copilot has to be attuned to my nutritional needs and should provide exceptional support in my consumption of said nutrients.

Food items should be placed directly into my right hand, in single-serving sizes and within 10-seconds of my request. Any beverages should be opened and placed into my hand and with the mouth opening facing me if applicable.

While this may serve some underlying need for me to feel like a hand-fed Persian emperor, it is also for safety reasons as it also allows me to focus on driving.


Disc Jockey

When I travel I listen to everything from my wife to audio books. Over the course of a drive my auditory needs evolve.

For the first hour an audio book might work fine, but then I’ll get the urge for some 90s rock or maybe the little one wants to hear his sing-along CD (the Mazda5 still offers a CD player).


The passenger, my copilot, now has to act as the vehicle DJ. He or she needs to know the center console and how to proficiently operate functions like Bluetooth streaming and Sirius XM so that my acoustic selections can be executed instantly.

Note: I had my wife in the driveway the night before learning how to use the Mazda5’s controls from the passenger seat.

Mobile Social Media Manager (MSMM)

One of the most important positions today in a vehicle during a road trip, second only to the driver, is the MSMM. This function is critical to ensuring your followers get real-time updates on anything you find cool or neat. This can include other unique vehicles, cool road signs and almost always the food you eat while traveling.


This person has to know their way around YOUR phone and YOUR social media etiquette.

Would you Vine a pickle sandwich? If not, then your MSMM should know that and opt to only Instagram (with vignette effect) your pickle sandwich.

This isn’t an easy task, but with enough training (we trained for two days) your copilot can be ‘authentically you’ in performing their duties as the MSMM.


What skills or qualifications do you have for your road trip copilot?

*Image from