Carpool Etiquette | All-Vehicle Pooling Community | spAIRseat

carpool etiquette

Carpooling with a complete stranger can be awkward if you don’t know the proper carpool etiquette. Just like how you wouldn’t want to come across as rude or disrespectful, you also would expect that your carpool partners would respect your space or your car. Since spAIRseat is a community of carpoolers, we want to make sure you know how to be a pleasant driver or rider. Therefore, we’ve compiled a bunch of tips and tricks to share proper carpool etiquette for both drivers and riders. 

riding in car

Why Should You Carpool?

There are many different reasons why people might want to carpool. 

  • Environmental Impact
    • Carpooling is a fantastic way to reduce one’s environmental impact, as by sharing a car, you reduce overall emissions. This can be reduced even further if you carpool by using a hybrid or electric car.
  • Less Traffic
    • If everybody would carpool to/from work, we would have anywhere from 50-70% fewer cars on the road during rush hour. That would mean fewer accidents, less traffic, and quicker commute times. 
  • Meet Other People
    • A big benefit to carpooling for many people is the ability to meet others. It’s a great way to meet other coworkers or, if you’re carpooling to go skiing or hiking, it’s a great way to meet other people who have the same interests and hobbies as you do. 
  • Save Money 
    • One of the main benefits of carpooling is saving money. You’ll pay less for gas and your car will get fewer miles on it (assuming you’re splitting driving duties with others).

carpooling community

Proper Carpool Etiquette for Riders

Down below, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you be a respectful carpool rider. At the end of the day, you can boil the tips down into treating the driver the way you would want to be treated as a carpool driver. 

Be on Time and Ready

Being on time is one of the most important pieces of proper carpool etiquette. Not only can being late impact your driver or other rider’s ability to get places on time, but it also shows a general lack of respect for them in general. Additionally, you will want to make sure you have all your things packed so that you’re not scrambling as your driver waits for you in your driveway.

Provide Advance Notice if Things Change

This piece of proper carpool etiquette follows pretty nicely from being on time. Of course, random events can happen that may mean you don’t need a ride anymore or could impact your ability to be on time. In this case, you should reach out to the driver to let them know immediately.

Be Courteous and Respectful 

If there’s one piece of carpool etiquette that encompasses every other tip we’re going to give you, it’s this one. Treating your driver and fellow riders with respect should be automatic in order to ensure that everybody has a positive carpooling experience.

Offer to Reimburse the Driver

Remember that you’re carpooling, and not using a taxi service. Your offer for reimbursement should include more than just gas, as you should factor in wear and tear, inconvenience, and the distance of the drive. It may help to have an agreed-upon reimbursement plan in advance. 

Don’t Ask for Special Stops

Asking for special stops, such as getting coffee or swinging by the grocery store, is not proper carpool etiquette. Your driver and other riders have things they need to do and places they need to be, and asking for special stops indicates that you don’t value their time or their obligations. 


Just like how it’d be frustrating if you had a passenger wearing muddy shoes in your car, the same should apply when you’re a passenger. If your shoes are dirty or you anticipate them getting dirty, it’s a common courtesy to cover them up and keep your driver’s car clean. Even if your shoes are clean, you might want to consider doing this just as a sign of respect to your driver. Don’t leave any trash in the car. Leaving any trash in your driver’s car is disrespectful and will definitely make them not want to drive with you again.

Don’t Distract the Driver

When you’re riding, you won’t want to do anything to distract your driver. This can include things like having a loud phone conversation, asking your driver to change the music on the freeway, or making big, sudden movements. Safety comes first!

carpool lane

Proper Carpool Etiquette for Drivers

  • Be on time
    • Just like riders should be on time, the same should go for a driver. Your riders have obligations and time restrictions too, and failing to show up on time disrespects them.
  • Drive safely
    • As a carpool driver, you’re responsible for the safety of multiple people. You should obey speed limits and all other traffic laws.
  • Be properly insured
    • If you happen to get into an accident while driving, you need to be sure you’re properly insured to avoid any unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses for either you or your riders.
  • Don’t make unnecessary stops
    • Similar to our carpool etiquette tip for riders about not requesting special stops, a driver should not make unnecessary stops either. This is disrespectful to your riders’ time.
  • Be clear about reimbursement expectations
    • Being clear about reimbursement expectations will not only prevent uncomfortable conversations but also protects you from having to spend more money than necessary. 
  • Be courteous & respectful
    • Just like with riders, if there’s one piece of proper carpool etiquette you should remember, it’s this one. 
  • Clean your car
    • Nobody wants to ride in a car with candy wrappers and empty coffee cups strewn about. Maintaining a clean car is just another way to show respect and courtesy to your riders.
  • Be respectful with music type and volume
    • If you want to play music, that’s fine, just be sure it’s appropriate and relatively quiet. Save the death metal or heavy EDM for when you’re driving alone.
  • Provide advance notice if things change 
    • Stuff happens. Your car might break down, you could get a flat, or you could wake up really sick one day that you’re supposed to drive. If this is the case, you should immediately reach out to the affected riders.

Travel with the spAIRseat Community

spAIRseat is a community for drivers of all vehicles to offer available seats to help cut expenses. It’s a fantastic online platform to find either riders or a driver for carpooling trips of all distances. Simply sign up, make a profile, and then connect with riders or drivers for specific journeys and watch your expenses shrink.

Sign up for free, today!