Car Etiquette


Etiquette seems to be a dying art, but the basics are still around in many areas. There's gifting etiquette, hosting etiquette, working etiquette, social etiquette, and, believe it or not, car etiquette. Some general manners may seem obvious, but it's good to have a grasp on what's acceptable and what isn't. Obviously, there may be some exceptions. But when it's an awkward situation, knowing the "right" thing to do can clear up some gray areas and keep a friendship from suffering. Here are some basic car etiquette guidelines. 
 
1. Borrowing - It is up to the owner to offer. If you own a pick up or van, and someone you know is moving or buying something big, it is generally understood that asking is impolite. Let the owner know and wait for an offer, and if no offer comes, make alternate arrangements. As the owner, you are under no obligation to make such an offer (although it's generally nice to do so if you can!) 
 
2.   Returning - If you borrow a vehicle, return it clean and full of fuel. Even if you borrowed it half full, fill it up before you return it. It's a thank you. Clean generally means that you've left no evidence of your use (internal or external), but it's never considered over the top to wash it before returning. 

3.  Making a Mess - If you, or anyone you are responsible for, makes a mess in someone's car, it is your responsibility to clean it, and clean it well, which may include getting it detailed (think motion sick kid or passenger of the designated driver). 

4. Carpooling - If you are taking more rides than you are giving, it's generally considered good manners to give some money for gas, although you probably won't be asked. Maybe that's picking up the tab for a fill up when you're in the car, maybe it's gifting a gas card, but even if the driver never mentions it, it's a nice acknowledgment of what they are "investing" in the carpool. If the driver refuses to accept money, some sort of thank you gesture is still recommended (a note, a baked good, picking up the tab for coffee).   Sometimes it may feel stiff and formal, but no one likes to feel taken advantage of or punished for offering a favor. 

Official "rules" may have gone out of style, but good manners are usually appreciated!

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