With skyrocketing gas prices and extra pollution in the air, carpooling has never made more sense.
If carpooling instantly makes you think of Dagwood in the comic Blondie, you are not alone. That comedic portrayal is often a true picture into carpooling, but it doesn’t have to be.
Benefits of Carpooling
First and foremost, carpooling saves gas. As gas prices continue to rise, the only economical choice is to find another way to get to work. Carpooling also helps entertain you during the morning commute. This can be especially important if you drive a long way to work.
Starting a carpool group
If you leave and return home from work at a consistent time, without needing to leave during the day, you are a good candidate for carpooling. I desperately want to carpool to work. However, I leave constantly throughout the day for several work tasks, making a carpool virtually impossible.
The next step is to find co-workers who live close by you, or neighbors who work near you that you can form a carpooling group. A carpool group can be any size, just no larger than the amount of seats/ seat belts that you have.
Determine a system
Ever carpool group is different, and you must determine what works for your group. One option is everyone in the group to switch off driving, whether it is every day, week or month. This evens out the effect of the mileage onto every car instead of burdening just one.
Another option is to have one person drive and everyone pitch in to help pay for gas. The biggest downside, besides putting so many miles on one car, is to ensure that everyone contributes fairly to pay for gas. If not, the burden is left on the driver.
When riding in a car with many different people who are not your family, you must adhere to some etiquette. Treat the carpool like your office- if you shouldn’t do it in your office, it shouldn’t be done in the car. For example, you should NEVER take off your shoes or pass gas, especially in such a small and enclosed space.
You must never be late. Your carpooling buddies have work schedules and lives to attend, and they cannot wait for you to get ready every morning. Out of the respect for others, be on time. If you cannot commit to being on time, you might be better off driving yourself.
Other etiquette often depends on those you are riding with. Be sensitive of people’s musical tastes (people might not love starting their day off with Barry Manilow) and political beliefs (NPR is generally a bad idea in mixed company). Falling asleep can halt conversation and make people uncomfortable, unless it is a common practice by all.
Know when it isn’t working
Carpooling is not for everyone. If your carpool is making you late, driving you crazy or not saving you money, consider other alternatives. If anything, catch the bus and let the community be your carpool group.
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