Carpool Etiquette

Things you should know before carpooling

Some things to be aware of and to consider before you carpool.

Cost sharing

Decide how you will split the costs before you start carpooling. The big one is usually fuel, which you can decide based on the mileage of the vehicle and actual trip distance shared. Toll costs are also good to split. If you do not drive at all, consider maintenance, parking costs and increase in insurance premium that the driver may have to bear as well. Licensing and depreciation are other costs usually not significant enough – but get these clarified before you start carpooling. Also clarify payment periodicity. It is usually best to settle dues at a smaller interval like weekly or even daily. Generally, it is a good idea to avoid long dues and sizeable dues.

Example: AAA average cost per mile in 2009 was $0.56 USD. For a two person carpool for 10 miles one way, using the AAA average the amount the driver incurs for the trip is $5.60. Splitting this equally between the driver and rider, it means the rider should pay $2.80 to the driver for the 10 mile trip.

Rules of the Game

Decide on some basic rules. Smoking, eating, music, radio station, talking in the car – all these are details if sorted out well beforehand make your carpooling enjoyable. The iCarpool engine allows you to filter on these criteria, but also displays best location match without filtering criteria to enable you to choose between a closer route match v/s a closer preference match.

Waiting Time

This is the big one. Decide on a waiting time and how many calls you are going to make. 5 minutes and 2 calls are usually a good starting point. Share your cell phone numbers since weather conditions, traffic conditions, car troubles are all factors which could affect driving times.

Backup Strategy

Have a backup plan in case the driver falls sick, goes on vacation or the car breaks down. We recommend having atleast two drivers in your carpool. Public transportation can also make a good backup plan.

More Etiquette

Simple strategy like big and tall in the front can make the ride convenient for all. If you are driving, tidy up your car. Don’t pick up errands on your way without consulting others – it is usually best to carpool straight to and from the destination. Drivers, consider increasing the appropriate coverage like liability and underinsured motorist. Please verify with your insurance company about any other considerations for your carpool.

Be a responsible carpooling citizen

Being responsible to your carpooling duties is a great way to show your fellow carpoolers you care. Show up on time, drive safe, notify people ahead of time of any change of plans. Carpooling can be enjoyable and rewarding if you make it so.

Safety measures

Establish contact first via phone and email. For the first meeting, consider meeting the other member at a public place like a coffeehouse, a library where you can see the vehicle, check identity, and get comfortable with each other. Avoid meeting at a private residence or apartment and do not get into the vehicle right away. Please use common sense measures like check identities carefully by reviewing each other’s driver’s license and vehicle. If someone plans to ride (and not drive) they may not have a driver’s license. In this case, please check identity with an employment card or passport. Ensure the picture on the ID, other information matches against the information you have about the other member. Inform your family, friends and colleagues about your new carpool resolve. Share contact information for carpool partners as you deem relevant and necessary (for example as a safety measure), but please make sure this information is not used in violation of the Privacy Policy of this web site. Please note – iCarpool cannot and does not ensure your safety and security. The suggestions, best practices and documentation on the website are provided to help members make key decisions. Please review the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use to fully understand safety and security implications.