An added bonus to carpooling is the ability to use the HOV lane. HOV stands for the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. It is also commonly referred to as the carpool lane or transit lane. The HOV lane is a popular feature these days on most heavily commuted traffic laden major highways. It is usually found on the far left end of the highway lanes and separated by barriers preventing one from exiting the HOV lane prematurely once they enter it and likewise preventing people from entering the HOV lane after they have passed its designated entrance point. HOV lanes were introduced in the 70’s but started really becoming common place in the United States in the 90’s. They are now found in most modern city highways especially in areas approaching large cities such as capital cities where highway traffic congestion is at its worst due to commuters entering the city for work.
Generally, the HOV lane is reserved for only 2 or more passengers riding in a vehicle. So if you are carpooling with at least one other person in your car you can take advantage of using the car pool lane. This can speed up your commute significantly as the Carpool lane bypasses a good portion of the traffic laden main highway. Reducing the amount of time you spend idling on the highway will reduce the wasted gas and save you significant money. Be sure to only use the HOV lane if you have the minimum or more required passengers by law. Otherwise you will be susceptible to getting a police ticket for violation of the carpool lane use requirements.
There are some allowances other than vehicles carrying more than one passenger in HOV lanes. Some jurisdictions allow hybrid electric vehicles and full electric vehicles to use the carpool lanes even if they have only one passenger (the driver only) in the car. The reason for this special allowance is because one of the founding principles of the HOV lane was to help foster a reduction of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions to improve the environment. Another reason for starting the HOV lane was to decrease the congestion on US major highways. Either way, taking advantage of the Carpool lane is a good way to save gas mileage and reduce your weekly work commute times.