Think carpooling is just for soccer moms driving the team to weekday practice? That’s no longer the case. Ride sharing has been on the rise in recent years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Here at 1stCertified Collision Centers, we know that the future of transportation will include carpooling and car sharing, as we try to make the planet greener overall.

There are many benefits of carpooling, especially in cities like Hemet, Riverside, San Bernardino and throughout CA. These benefits include saving money, reducing stress and protecting the environment. It also offers an opportunity to establish closer relationships with your co-workers and other commuters.

Skeptical about sharing a ride with someone you don’t know? Whether you’re a big fan of carpooling or just warming up to the idea, here are some tips on how to stay safe:

  • Do your research to find a good carpool match. Ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker for a recommendation or check online for one of the reputable ridesharing companies available. Check out their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to avoid a scam. Don’t offer too much personal information before you get together.
  • Find a public place to meet and get to know each other. Don’t be shy! Ask questions about their driving record, habits and whether or not they smoke. Consider asking for personal references, a copy of their driver’s license and insurance information.
  • Follow your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable for any reason, there’s absolutely no obligation to ride together.
  • Once you’ve found the perfect match, exchange emergency information before heading out. Just in case something goes wrong, you’ll have their medical and contact information at your fingertips.
  • Ready to go? Buckle up and ensure your passengers do the same. Try not to speed or drive aggressively. Be cautious and obey all the laws when you’re out on the road. Following a few driving etiquette rules will allow for a peaceful ride. That means avoiding playing loud music and talking excessively on your cell phone.

Special rules for carpooling with kids:

  • Make sure you know and trust the person driving your child and he/she has a driver’s license and insurance. Formulate a backup plan in case something comes up unexpectedly and the driver has to cancel.
  • Plan ahead so everyone knows who is going to drive and where the pickup and drop off locations are. Write out the schedule and confirm the details multiple times with your child.
  • Whether your child uses a car seat, booster or seat belt, take the time to properly install the device and show everyone how to firmly fasten your child in place.
  • Batten down the hatches! Secure anything that could potentially become a projectile in your car, such as loose toys, in case there is an accident.
  • Encourage your child to tell you about his/her experiences during the carpool so you can monitor any red flags.

Once you begin to rideshare, you may find that you never want to drive by yourself again. By following a few precautions, you can rest assured that you and your family have a safe commute, whether it’s here in San Bernardino County or anywhere else in the good old USA!

Sources: Consumer Reports, Dept. of Transportation and AAA