Whether you're participating in a vanpool or organizing your own set of commuters, a few generally accepted rules of carpooling etiquette are good to keep in mind.
- Driving? Make sure you have a vehicle that's up to the challenge. For instance Ford's new Flex, the automaker reports, offers limousine-like comfort and good fuel economy, with up to 24 mpg for front-wheel drive and 22 mpg for all-wheel drive. Its next-generation navigation option, including SIRIUS Travel Link, ensures you'll never get lost and will always find the cheapest fuel. Plus, its available refrigerated console could be the perfect place to stash that soda or bottled water for the drive home.
- Determine your route and schedule. Establish the morning pickup point and designate a place to meet for the trip home.
- Don't let the carpool become an errand service. Set ground rules before starting out.
- Establish policies. Food and drinks, smoking or nonsmoking, radio stations or silence? Decide how long the driver will wait on tardy passengers. Come to an understanding about the use of the horn for latecomers in residential areas. Find out who's allergic to perfume and who can't handle even a few stray pet hairs.
- Keep it light. The carpool might not be the best place to discuss religion or presidential candidates.
- Have a contingency plan. Don't let working late spoil the arrangement for everyone.