Slugging is an interesting term that describes a trendy and unique way residents commute to work in Washington, DC, and Virginia.

Slugging is free and, in a way, like carpooling, except it’s with strangers. While it sounds odd and a little scary, slugging has been around since 1975. Over the years, it has advanced into a well-organized not-for-profit ridesharing community.

The way slugging work is a driver pulls up to a designated “slugging” stop and picks up additional passengers. These additional passengers help the driver meet the 2-3 passenger requirements, to use the various high occupancy vehicle (HOV), and designated carpool lanes.

While a corporation does not govern slugging, this type of commuting does come with its own rules that help keep drivers and passengers safe.

Here are the top eight rules:

  • No talking – Talking is highly not recommended. If the driver initiates a conversation, the slug can talk and continue the conversation.
  • Never take a ride out of turn – slugs follow a first-come, first-served rule. The first person gets the first driver who pulls up and also gets to decide if they want the front or back seat.
  • Do not pay– Slugging is free for all commuters to use, and no such monetary funds or gifts of any kind are accepted.
  • Curbside service doesn’t exist – Slugs cannot request specific drop off spots. Drivers will drop each slug off at the designated “slugging” stop.
  • No cruising the parking lot for slugs – Drivers are not allowed to pick up a slug in a parking lot. They must go through the line.
  • Pass or forfeit a ride – Both driver and slug can refuse a trip if they feel it isn’t safe.

Many people believe slugging helps reduce congestion and air pollution while providing a safe, efficient means of transportation.

While slugging might seem like a great idea, there are a few concerns you should think about before slugging. What happens if you get into an accident while slugging? Who is responsible for damages and possible injuries? Does your insurance cover it?

Because, slugging is structured to operate solely off of the “will” of those who use it, understanding if insurance will or will not cover accidents, damages and injuries are challenging and complex. It is best to consult your car insurance regarding coverage and speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system around car insurance coverage.