4 Commandments of Carpool Etiquette
"Manners. Maketh. Man"--such wise words from no less than gentleman-hitman-agent Harry Hart (or Galahad), the deuteragonist in the movie "Kingsmen." Still, we're not here to talk about the movie and why Hart can't seem to die in both its sequels. We're here to talk about carpool manners, which still maketh man...woman...kids...everyone.
Here are the commandments of carpooling you should always keep in mind:
Commandment #1: Thou shalt create written rules before anything else.
Get together somewhere and establish rules on what to do--and not what to do. For instance, are kids (and adults) allowed to eat inside? If yes, should they bring their own trash bag--or the driver provides one? If no, are there exceptions to the rule?
Another important rule: where's the meeting place? And what’s the rotation for drivers? Should you be taking turns daily, weekly, or monthly? The more clear-cut your rules are, the more organized and efficient things will be.
Don't be afraid to look petty, here. Rules like changing the radio station, passenger hygiene, talking (or the absence of it), seat choice, pets, smoking, taking side trips, and even going to the bathroom while on the road might not be a scintillating topic to discuss, but should still be given top priority.
Once there are agreed rules among all carpoolers, then make sure to print out the copies and distribute them to everyone. Have each one sign it as well (if possible).
Commandment #2: Thou shalt communicate changes to one's schedule beforehand.
Got an impromptu date with someone? Inform them you won't be riding with them that day. The last thing you want is for them to get frustrated waiting for you while you're out there drinking your fourth margarita.
Similarly, inform other carpoolers that you can't pick them up due to an emergency. Time is valuable--so respect their time ALL THE TIME.
Commandment #3: Thou shalt not be late.
This is an important rule. Be considerate with the time of others, here. For all you know, some carpoolers are in a hurry to watch reruns of "Master Chef". Should you anger them, then this might be the end of your weekly brunch at their home and the "stunning" meat pie they share with you, care of "Master Chef" judge Gordon Ramsay. That’s definitely NOT "stunning."
Commandment #4: Thou shalt get covered.
Get insurance if you can. This also goes for your child, if they are also in the carpool. Really, you never know what might happen, especially if it's not you who's in control of the steering wheel.
If you're the one doing the driving, then make sure your car is insured as well. This will give you an added safety net in case you get in an accident.
Despite being such a relatively cost-effective and benign practice, carpooling demands everyone to be in their best behavior at all times. Practicing courtesy, respect, consideration, and patience will come a long way in making your carpools harmonious, beneficial, safe, and more importantly--fun for everyone.