Car Culture

Mary On Board a comical nagging backseat driver

Nagging "navigational" novelty device offers driving advice so you don't have to feel too lost and alone without your usual backseat driver.

Mary On Board is the voice of your nagging wife or mother as you drive down the road. Mary On Board

How do you get from point A to point B without your favorite backseat driver spewing commentary and driving tips? Well, now you can enjoy that familiar nagging even when you're alone in your car.

Mary On Board
Mary On Board, the comical backseat driver, can be modded by adding a picture of who you want to be offering you advice on the road. Mary On Board

The new Mary On Board, a humorous dash-top device, gives criticism, driving tips, and navigational "advice" in two languages.

Mary On Board creator Dan Finkelstein said he was inspired by his wife (named Mary) to create a device that would "backseat drive" for him when she wasn't around.

Finkelstein explained that he was distracted by a phone call one day while driving, only to be reminded to move into the right lane by his wife, who was "motioning wildly and saying repeatedly, 'right lane!'"

So Finkelstein, who had been laid off from Unisys after 25 years, took on the task of inventing Mary On Board. The device was developed through the aid of a Utah-based company, Design My Idea.

The device is about as helpful as a Magic 8 Ball when it comes to dispensing actual directions. Instead, it offers about 15 preprogrammed sayings in English or Spanish, including "I so need a brake pedal on my side," "Admit it! You're lost because you wouldn't ask for directions," and "Don't you think you should slow down?"

The gadget retails for $19.95 on the company's Web site and through Things You Never Knew Existed. For every unit purchased, $1 will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation, Finkelstein said.