The Etiquette of Being Chauffeured

Riding in Chauffeured Private Vehicles

The appropriate place for a person being chauffeured in a private car is in the seat behind the driver, on the opposite side of the vehicle—seatbelt fastened. If other persons are being transported along with the primary passenger, those persons should enter the vehicle from the corresponding passenger-door on the side of the vehicle directly opposite the primary passenger, rather than using the door that corresponds to the seat of the primary passenger then sliding themselves across the seat. If in the interest of safety or traffic regulations, however, secondary passengers must enter the vehicle by way of the primary passenger’s entrance, they should do so as quickly and efficiently as possible so as not to delay the accommodation of the primary passenger. If a gentleman is the primary passenger but will be joined by a female passenger, the chauffeur should first assist the lady into the vehicle via the door which corresponds to her seat, thereafter assisting the gentleman in occupying his seat. If the gentleman will be joined not by a lady but by another male passenger, the primary passenger is seated first, the secondary passenger seated after.

Whenever a passenger must walk around a vehicle in order to access his designated door, he should, for safety reasons, walk around the rear of the vehicle.

It is best to maintain a professional distance with one’s chauffeur, whose job it is to safely transport his passengers in style and with decorum. And obfuscating the line of demarcation between professional chauffeur and friend-driver inevitably leads to unpleasant and unnecessary misunderstandings. Besides rendering safe transportation in a timely manners, a chauffeur should open and close doors; shelter his passenger during ingress and egress with an umbrella in times of inclement weather; assist the passenger with luggage and personal effects; place a gentleman’s briefcase or attaché case securely unto a seat accessible to him while in transit (Some drivers, at the request of their passengers, even open then secure briefcases with seat belts so as to keep them in place in the event of sudden braking); make available the day’s major newspapers or other requested reading; mind his own business; etc.

A hired chauffeur should be tipped at the end of each job—unless, of course, he is a member of the staff and, as such, will be awarded appropriate annual bonuses and/or raises as determined by performance, law, and the generosity of his employer.


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