casual carpool etiquette

I live in Berkeley & recently started working in SF. The casual carpool from N Berkeley BART has greatly improved my morning commute. But one morning I happened to be in the front seat & witnessed the driver text several times as we crossed the bridge, glancing up & back at the phone every few seconds. I was very uncomfortable & my body language might have indicated so but I didn't know what to say. Would love to hear how other passengers handle & communicate driver behavior that is unsafe. Thanks!

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RE: casual carpool etiquette ()

Hi there - Your experience is indeed an uncomfortable position to be in. I have been taking casual carpool for 10 years and fortunately have only come across this a handful of times. Sometimes I have just worried all the way to work. Once I said something like, "I'd like to get to work safely," and the driver didn't understand what I meant. I was more clear and said something like, "I am uncomfortable with you using your phone." She said, "Oh! Then say that!" And she put away her phone. She had a point. I wasn't totally clear the first time. So, if I come across this situation again, I'll probably say, "I am uncomfortable with you using your phone while you're driving." and hope for the best. Note, the time I said something, both my spouse and I were passengers in the same car, and I was worried about our kids losing both parents in one blow, because I was being polite about being in danger. Once I was in the back seat of a sports car, and the car didn't have a seatbelt. The driver thought it was funny. I made the driver stop and got out. (I was 8 months pregnant.) The front passenger got out and also returned to the line, saying he totally understood, which was kind and reassuring. My point is, if you say something, you're likely to have an ally. Be safe. :-)

RE: casual carpool etiquette ()

I'll be curious to read responses.  I've been a casual carpooler from Oakland for well over 20 years, and the only unsafe driver behavior I've experienced has been speeding.  Never texting!  Honestly, I don't know how I'd respond to that.  As riders, we're not in control.  If a driver were insulted about being called out for texting, who knows what he/she would do.  My biggest peeve about the carpool experience started when the bridge authority made charging carpool drivers pay tolls.  The whole issue of whether riders should hand the driver (I do) or not (apparently in north Berkeley and other places, they do not) has brought an uncomfortable aspect to what was for many years a completely amiable way to get to work.  I saw someone asked to leave a car one morning because she didn't have any cash!

RE: casual carpool etiquette ()

"Whoa I can't believe you're texting!!!" <= really genuine-sounding but over-the-top mock surprise
"It must be really important. Here, hand me your phone and I'll do it for you." 

RE: casual carpool etiquette ()

Oh man that would've made me really uncomfortable too and is definitely not ok. I've been a driver for casual carpool in the past and encountered situations where I wanted to speak up about very strong perfumes/colognes but felt awkward so I would just wait until right before they got out to politely request that they consider waiting until they get to work to put on the perfume. It always went well. Hopefully that doesn't happen again but if it does and you don't want to speak up while they're doing it, try speaking up right before you get out. There's so many benifits to the casual carpool system but it's far from perfect. Good luck.

RE: casual carpool etiquette ()

Don't wait until just before you get out of the vehicle.

  1. Texting makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
    source: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-fact-about-texting-and-driving
     

Say something like - Excuse me but I'm very uncomfortable with you texting while driving. It is very dangerous and also against the law.

Illegal uses of cellphone as of 1/1/2017: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article123126354.html