Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are only increasing in popularity with each passing day. They are incredibly convenient to use and cheaper than taxis. They are also a great option if you’ve had a little too much to drink and want to get home safely. They will pick you up almost anywhere at any time. With these benefits, it is no wonder that these services have become so popular.
Unfortunately, there have been some reports of people being assaulted by people posing as rideshare drivers, and the number of such reported incidents has been rising. Because of this, it is important that people understand how to keep themselves safe while enjoying the convenience of rideshare services.
Here are a few ways you can stay safe while using a rideshare service:
Don’t wait near the street for your ride.
In many of the cases where someone was assaulted after ordering a ride from a rideshare app, the person who assaulted them wasn’t even their driver. The predatory driver had simply driven around, looking for people who appeared to be waiting for a ride. To keep yourself safe, order your ride from inside whatever establishment you are at. Then, don’t go outside until you can see on your phone that your ride has actually arrived.
Before you get in the car, check the license plate.
Uber and Lyft will both provide you with your driver’s license plate when you order a ride. Make sure you check the license plate of your driver before you get into the car, and confirm that it is actually the correct car. You can also make sure that your driver looks like the driver pictured in the app.
Choose to share a ride.
Uber and Lyft both offer options that allow you to split your ride with another person if you are traveling alone. This can be a good idea to do, especially if you are traveling late at night alone. While you may feel a little odd sharing your ride with a stranger, you are way more likely to be safe from a predatory driver if you’re sharing the car with another rider. And by splitting your ride, you’ll also save some money!
Keep your personal information to yourself.
It is important that you don’t share any personal or identifying information with your driver. This is especially important if you live alone or if you are visiting a new city on your own. While it can be fun to make conversation with your driver, make sure you keep things like your last name, where you are staying (or living), and any other identifying information to yourself.
Choose the backseat.
Sitting in the backseat is generally safer than sitting in the front seat, because it creates a natural barrier between you and the driver. So if you’re traveling alone, choose to sit in the back of the car.
Read reviews before ordering a ride.
Make sure you check your driver’s reviews before ordering the ride. In addition, if anything unpleasant occurs during your ride, make sure you leave a review explaining it, so other riders will be alerted. It’s also a good idea to leave positive reviews as well, in order to point other riders towards safe drivers.
Always wear your seatbelt.
While these seems obvious, many people forget to put on their seatbelt when someone else is driving.
Have a plan for what to do if your driver gets into a wreck.
While Lyft and Uber both screen out any drivers who have 3 or more citations, you really have no way of knowing that your driver won’t get into an accident. Make sure you know what to do if this happens. Basically, follow the same procedures you would if you got into a crash. Call 911, document the scene, check yourself and any other parties for injuries, etc.
Know where you’re going and keep an eye on your surroundings.
If your driver starts going a different direction than where he or she should be taking you, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can also text someone you trust and let them know where you are and have them call you at the time you should be arriving at your destination. If you’re feeling very uncomfortable, go ahead and send them the license plate of your driver as well.
These are just a few ways that you can make sure you’re staying safe while using rideshare services. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of rideshare apps to avoid parking fees and get that quick ride when you need it, just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and taking basic precautions.