With the start of the school year, parents have one more commitment they have to do for the next 8-9 months. It’s taking their kids to school every day, which means long rides in the carpool lane, most likely in an SUV or a minivan, which can be quite a challenge, considering that you are riding along with a few kids who can get really noisy and become a major distraction for you while driving, so safety is something that you need to take into consideration, along with determining a schedule and calculating the costs and figuring out how to divide them between everyone that is involved in the carpool. That is why you might find the following tips on how to start carpooling very helpful.
Determine the starting point
The first thing you should do once you’ve decided who you want to include in your carpool and how many people are going to be taking part, is where everybody is going to meet. There are a couple of options at your disposal, such as the place where the driver lives, which is especially convenient in case everybody lives near the driver’s home, and if you don’t take turns driving. Alternatively, the driver can pick everyone else up, or you can have everyone come to a previously designated place, such as a parking lot in front of a popular convenience store that is easy to get to.
Figure out a schedule
You have to figure out the exact time everyone is going to meet, if you have decided to have the other members gather around at a certain location, instead of picking them up. If you have to pick them up from their homes, setting up a schedule and sticking to it might be a bit more complicated, which is why you must talk to everyone involved and be willing to do some concessions, so that you can get synced up with the other participants.
Be aware of the potential liability and the responsibility while carpooling
When you are driving in the carpool lane, you are responsible for the safety of your passengers. You should make sure that everyone has their seat belts on, which is especially important since you are transporting children. Also, there are some potential insurance and liability issues you might have to deal with. In case you cause an accident, you will be held liable for the potential injuries your passengers might sustain. In this situation, you should be covered by a general liability insurance policy, but you have to check what exactly your policy covers before you start carpooling.
Calculate how much everyone should pay
Things to be considered here include the fuel consumption of each of the vehicles’ included in the carpool, whether you are rotating drivers or there is only one designated driver, and whether you are meeting everyone at a previously chosen location, or the driver is picking the other participants up from their homes. Once you’ve figured out these things, you will be able to calculate the costs and divide them between each member of the carpool.
Let everyone know type of behavior is allowed in your carpooling
You have to set some ground rules and make sure everyone respects them. If you don’t allow smoking, eating or drinking, or talking on cell phones in your car, you should make that clear to everyone, so that you don’t have to stop and argue while you are on the road.
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and "green cars" specialist. He is a writer for DMV.com, which is a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of "dealing with the DMV".