These safe driving tips will take your carpool shift from absolutely awful to actually kind of OK—what more do you need?

By Lauren Phillips
Updated July 17, 2019
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Reviewing safe driving tips is always a good idea, and planning the school carpool is certainly a great opportunity to do that and then some with everyone responsible for driving. No driver is perfect, but even small driving infractions—fiddling with the radio while you drive, for example—can seem much larger when the carpool crew of kids are in the backseat. Make discussing appropriate carpool driving behaviors part of your back-to-school checklist, and you’ll have a much happier (and safer) carpool.

To make the carpool safer than ever, try practicing these safe driving tips from Volvo. Even if you know the obvious safe driving tips—don’t text and drive, keep your eyes on the road, etc.—keeping these little tricks in mind can help cut down on stress and chaos during your carpool driving shift so you can focus on the road. Even with a potentially rowdy crowd in the back, these tips will help you put your attention where it needs to be, keeping the driver, passengers, and pedestrians (plus anyone else on or near the road) so much safer.

1. Cut out phone distractions

With the dangers of driving distracted because of phone use so well-known and publicized, there’s no excuse to be using your phone while behind the wheel, especially when driving with passengers (and likely young ones, at that). To truly cut out any potential distractions, put your phone on Do Not Disturb—or silent, or turn it off completely—once you pick up your passengers. You can check in after each drop off, but while driving, you don’t need to be checking texts. If absolutely necessary, put a passenger on phone duty to field any urgent messages.

2. Set the playlist ahead of time

Stop song squabbles, requests, and more—so the driver isn’t messing with the music while on the road—by creating a carpool playlist ahead of time. Everyone in the car can weigh in on their playlist picks, but once the playlist is going, no changes are allowed. Alternately, have a designated DJ for each drive; the goal is that the driver doesn’t have to fiddle with the radio or phone.

3. Prep passengers

Make sure everyone in the back has what they need before shifting out of park. For kids, this means getting everyone water, snacks, napkins, coloring books, or whatever else they need before you start driving. This way, passengers are satisfied and the driver isn’t searching for a napkin mid-merge.

4. Maintain a healthy fuel level

Strive to keep the gas tank level at above a quarter of a tank. Stopping for gas can delay drop-offs or make a passenger late for some commitment, and running on fumes isn’t an option when several people are relying on an on-time arrival. Fill up pre-pickup or establish a regular routine of stopping by the gas station to fill up the tank, even if it’s not empty.

5. Schedule in a time cushion

Trick yourself into leaving early for pickups so you’re never under pressure to drive as fast as possible to arrive on-time. If multiple pickups are involved, tell everyone to be ready a few minutes before they actually need to be; this way, if someone is running seriously late, the whole pool won’t be completely thrown off—and you’ll never be urged to drive dangerously to beat the clock.