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Who is entertaining the driver

Passengers are too busy on their iPhones and laptops to ask any courtesy of the driver.

No longer do passengers sweetly inquire, “What radio station would you like?” “Do you need anything to drink?” “May I entertain you with a delightful and hilarious tale to keep you in a good mood -- since the fate of my life is clearly in your hands?”

Nope. More often than not, passengers are too busy on their iPhones and laptops to ask any courtesy of the driver. Parked on the inaccurately named Great Western Highway – okay, at least the Western part is right -- while playing tourist guide to my visiting brother, I wondered about the changed role of the driver.

Taking 20 minutes to crawl 1.2 km, it seemed my role as a road trip companion had dwindled to that of an ignored bus driver -- where everyone expects you to do the work, while they keep themselves happily entertained.

In this modern infotainment-everywhere world, are road trips as much fun as they used to be? Are they still a shared experience, a time to swap stories and play silly road games? Or has it turned into a chore, where whoever drives gets the short straw?

Should we enforce a cabin rule where all iPhones, iPads and laptops must be stowed while the vehicle is in motion? I’m still pondering that question this morning as I sit in city traffic. But at least I can enjoy a silent version of The Lion King as it’s playing in the back seat of the van in front of me.