The 5 Cardinal Rules of Carpooling

Is personal chemistry the key to a healthy carpool? Find out how to boost your carpoolability here.

Sharing a ride to work or the game can save you gas money, lower your stress (depending on who’s driving), and fight traffic congestion. Carpooling’s also one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon impact. But with transportation costs on the rise and more HOV lanes than ever before (over 1,000 miles and counting), why do most carpools break up?

With all due respect to Jerry O’Connell and Tom Arnold, even the movies and shows about ridesharing can’t seem to break through. So we decided to look into this. And the one topic most carpooling advocates shy away from is personal chemistry. Who cares about saving at the pump when Fred’s singing “Footloose” in falsetto?

As the advantages of carpooling continue to outweigh the pros of driving alone, we gathered a list of ridesharing tips to help you boost your ’pool appeal in the short- and long-term.

Buff up on current events

Catch the news or listen to AM radio before you leave. Your awareness of what’s new will come in handy during that long tunnel ride when the radio cuts out.

Discuss costs upfront

Generosity is king of the carpool lane. Make sure there’s no miscommunication regarding gas money, toll money, etc. When carpools are mutually beneficial and driving duties are split down the middle, there’s typically no need for money to exchange hands. But it never hurts to ask.

Get to know your fellow carpoolers

Ideally, carpooling is a way to meet new people and find out what you have in common with the guy in the next cubicle. It’s not always easy to be alert and friendly on a long drive, but when all else fails you can always crank up the tunes and hope you have similar tastes. Our friendly rideshare experts at Zimride call this phenomenon “to Gaga or not to Gaga.”

Cut back on cologne or perfume consumption

A little splash goes a long way. Consider your fellow riders’ proximity, and closely monitor how many windows are open. If it’s way too cold/hot for that many open windows, it may be time to recalibrate your scent’s potency.

Be on time, all the time

This one’s a no-brainer. You’ll be a welcome addition to any carpool when the driver knows you’ll be ready to go, like clockwork.

If you follow these 5 cardinal rules of carpooling etiquette, you’ll stay in demand as a noted sharer of rides. And if you have a bad day or a misstep that hurts your carpool, there are countless genuine (and funny) ways to say “I’m sorry.”

For more carpooling resources:

How Stuff Works
Mannequin Passenger (true story)
Esurance Partners with Zimride

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