More and more people are turning to rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to get them from place to place. After all, these services are generally cheaper than taxis, and you can get a ride at almost any time or in any place. They can be a great help for people who don’t have cars, or for people who simply want to explore a city without the hassle of finding parking. They are also a great way for people to avoid driving while under the influence, since they are so cheap and will pick you up quickly from anywhere.
Unfortunately, as with anything good thing, there are some reported downsides to these services. There have been many cases where people posing as rideshare drivers assaulted a passenger, which has led to solo passengers, especially women, to feeling more uneasy when hopping into that Uber or Lyft.
So, what can people do to use these services safely?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Ask for and wait for your ride inside.
Most people stand by the street to wait for their driver to arrive after requesting a driver. Unfortunately, this can end up being dangerous, as many times, predators will drive around, looking for people who appear to be waiting for drivers. Some of these people have even used Lyft or Uber signs on their car to look more legitimate. Because of this, even Uber states that the safest thing for you to do is to request your ride first, and then wait inside until your driver arrives at your location.
Share your ride.
If you’re traveling alone, it can be a good idea to use the rideshare options on Lyft and Uber. Predators are simply less likely to try anything if there is more than one person in the vehicle. This tip is especially important if you are traveling alone late at night, and can be even more important if you are female. While sharing your ride with strangers may make you feel uncomfortable, it can keep you safer. It will save you some money as well!
Sit in the backseat.
It is much harder for a predatory driver to attempt anything while you are in the back seat, as you will have somewhat of a barrier between yourself and the driver. While the front seat may seem like the more comfortable option, if you’re alone, opt to sit in the back.
Check your driver’s license plate before getting into the car.
Taking the time to check your driver’s license plate is a quick and simple way to ensure that your driver is actually who or she claims to be.
Don’t share too much personal information.
This one is especially important if you are traveling alone in a new city. While it can be tempting to get chummy with your driver and share information about your life, be careful not to give away too much. You don’t want your driver to know any personal details, such as your last name, where you work, where you are staying/live, or anything else that could identify you.
Check driver reviews and leave reviews.
Check the reviews of your driver before booking him or her, and make sure they are positive. Additionally, try to take the time to rate your drivers, especially if anything worrying occurred during your ride. This can help other people find safe drivers and help keep unsafe ones off the street.
Wear your seatbelt.
This one seems obvious, but make sure you buckle up. While your driver may drive more than you do, he or she could still get into a wreck.
Understand what you should do if your driver gets into a wreck.
Many people who regularly use rideshare services have never actually thought about what they will do if their driver gets into a wreck. While both Lyft and Uber screen out drivers with more than 3 citations, there is no guarantee your driver won’t end up in an accident. Make sure you do what you would do in a normal wreck: call the police, document the scene, get the contact information of the driver and their insurance company, etc.
Make sure you are aware of your surroundings.
Know where you are going and what is going on around you. If your driver seems to be taking you down the wrong path, or you’re feeling uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can also text your location, the driver’s license plate number, etc. to someone you trust if you begin to feel uncomfortable.
Don’t be afraid to take advantage of Lyft and Uber to get around the city or get that ride home after too many drinks. Just make sure you are cautious and observant. Following the tips here can help you use ridesharing services with confidence.