Carpool etiquette 101: Tips for your group ride to work

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If you're going to carpool, you've got to do it right. These tips will help you on the road! (KTRK)

There are a lot of benefits when you decide to join a carpool group with co-workers living in the same side of town as you.

You save money when it comes to vehicle costs, like fuel and maintenance. You also help out the environment. One less vehicle on the road cuts back on the implied carbon emissions in the air.

There is also the benefit of an efficient method to get to and from work. After all, the people you pick up are heading for the same place.

While thinking about the benefits, you must also consider etiquette guidelines since these people will be part of your work life multiple times a day.

First, come up a plan with your carpool group. This includes your route, driving schedule, contact sheet and reimbursement costs, which should be settled before driving that first mile.

The route determines when each participant gets picked up, and a driving scheduled should make it clear about who will take up the driving responsibility on a given day.

You must also come up with an agreement on things like smoking, music, cell phone use, and eating and drinking. To make it easier, you can try to find something in common among your passengers.

You may establish some ground rules when it comes to your car, but you may also have to find common ground and concessions as well.

On that end, you should get to know your fellow carpoolers. You can gauge their interests for things like car talk or music selection. Simply put, be considerate.

As a courtesy, you need to keep the vehicle clean. Who really wants to ride in a car ankle deep in trash on the floor?

This tip is a no-brainer, but drive carefully and obey traffic laws. Give your carpoolers comfort when it's your turn to drive.

For the clean-smelling carpooler, you may have to cut back on cologne or perfume, especially when it's too hot or cold to open the windows.

Most importantly, you must be on time, all the time. Your fellow carpoolers are putting a lot of trust in the process. The benefits of carpooling goes both ways between passengers and driver.

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