- Uber Security: Are You Safe Riding an Uber Cab?
- Uber at a Glance
- But How Safe is an Uber Ride?
- Follow These UBER Safety Tips in 2020
- What can I do to be safe in an UBER?
- Uber Crimes
- The Inherent Risk
- Is It Safe to Take an Uber or Lyft During Coronavirus?
- What are the risks of using a taxi or ridesharing services?
- How can I make taxis as safe as possible?
- Is Uber Safe to Use: Meet the Faces of Uber
- Is Uber safe to use or not?
- Uber is more than skewed statistics – Uber is about its people
- Meet Harley, the Anthropologist, San Diego
- Meet Sammi, the Pharmacology Student, New York
- Meet Chris, the Ex-Combat Photographer, Vermont
- Meet Eddie, the Cruiser, Dallas
- Meet Taylor, the corporate burn out, San Diego
- Meet Brian, the Apple Addict, Nashville
- Meet Dave, the Reluctant Retiree, Albuquerque
- Meet Ralph, the Traditional Taxi Driver
- Meet Derrick, the Grandfather in Detroit
- 8 Ways To Stay Safe On Your Next Uber Ride, According To Drivers
- Check The License Plate
- Know What Questions To Ask And Answer
- Keep Your Wits About You
- Watch Where You Sit
- Get Picked Up And Dropped Of In A Safe Location
- Look Out For Red Flags
- Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out
- Communication Is Key
Uber Security: Are You Safe Riding an Uber Cab?
In recent years, real-time ridesharing has become a popular way for many city dwellers to get from one place to another by paying ride sourcing drivers to transport them in much the same way they would outsource to a taxi service.
Un most taxi services, however, these services involve private drivers using their own vehicles.
The entire process is made possible through the use of modern technology GPS navigation, social networks, and smartphones, and company networks that use algorithmic solutions to match drivers to passengers.
As might be expected, the traditional taxi industry has been generally hostile to ridesharing companies Uber, since the new networking service is seen as a major threat to taxi service viability in many areas of the world.
Some critics also cite concerns such as a lack of regulation and licensure, poor training, and questionable insurance coverage as reasons to view the new services with suspicion. In some areas of the world – most notably, European cities Berlin – Uber has been completely banned.
Safety is often cited as a major cause for concern for this skepticism, and that raises an important question: just how safe are you with your Uber driver?
Uber at a Glance
It is important to understand just how popular Uber has become in the areas it services. As 2015 drew to a close, the company announced that it had reached the 1 billion ride mark.
The one-billionth ride was provided on December 24, 2015 and transported a driver in London from London Fields to Hoxton.
The milestone-setting passenger was treated to a year’s worth of free Uber rides in celebration, and the company also made a donation to one of the local area non-profits.
While that is truly a feel-good story for Uber and technology fans everywhere, it is also just one part of a larger story of success for the company. Uber has been growing tremendously over the last year and a half. Just consider these facts:
- As of September 2015, Uber reportedly had roughly 327,000 individual drivers actively offering rides across the nation. It’s important to note that this number is defined in terms of drivers who provide at least four rides during each month.
- Because that number represented a doubling of the 160,000 drivers reportedly in action at the end of 2014, more than half of all Uber drivers on the road today have been providing these rides for less than two years.
- Almost one-fifth of all ridesharing drivers had been driving for less than two months.
- Uber has expanded to more than 400 cities in 70 countries and offers more than 1 million rides each day to its customers around the world.
- More than 8 million users relied on the Uber app by the end of 2014, and when the company turned over customer information in response to regulatory requests a few months ago, those records included details for roughly twelve million Uber.
But How Safe is an Uber Ride?
As appealing as it all sounds, there are also reasons for skepticism.
In the first place, Uber goes to great lengths to separate itself from the appearance of being any sort of organized transportation service.
“Uber does not guarantee the quality, suitability, safety or ability of third-party providers. You agree that the entire risk arising your use of the services, and any service or good requested in connection therewith, remains solely with you, to the maximum extent permitted under applicable law.” – Uber Terms of Service
Moreover, even on the company’s dedicated safety page on its website, there are little more than platitudes offered to those who would use the service.
While the company does make an effort to remind users that it avoids discrimination factors race and gender, it offers few assurances about its commitment to ensuring that customers are not exposed to potentially dangerous drivers who might place their safety at risk.
Such assurances would almost certainly be welcomed by a public that may have reason to question the safety of these largely unregulated services. There have been numerous instances in recent years in which passengers have had the misfortune of being paired with drivers whose intentions and actions were anything but safe for those riding in their vehicles.
Follow These UBER Safety Tips in 2020
The rise of Uber means transportation is now easier than ever before. Guaranteeing its users comfortable and affordable rides at the go, anytime. But for all the good rendered, there’s the ever prevailing issue of security. While the company goes to extreme lengths to ensure your safety, there’s only so much they can do and it’s advisable you take personal measures as well.
What can I do to be safe in an UBER?
To assist you, we listed out a few a safe practices you can follow:
- Book indoor – Avoid waiting for your ride in the open. If you do find yourself outside the comfort of your home, you should enjoy a nice cup of coffee or find a safe place to wait.
- Conduct a thorough check – So your ride arrived before you finished your coffee, you don’t have to rush in. To guarantee your safety, the app holds all the necessary vehicle and driver information such as car model, plate, driver name, and pictures, etc. Ensure all this info match what you have right in front of you. To go the extra mile, you can request the driver confirms your name as it shows he or she also follows due process.
- Maintain space – If you happen to be riding alone, it’s best you have good space between you and the driver. Seating at the back is a good option as it ensures a safe and easy exit when necessary.
- Keep loved ones in the know – The app has a Share trip status feature which enables you to share all information regarding your trip. These include the location, vehicle license number, driver name, and photo. And you should share these with a member of family or friends. This helps them keep track of your trip if need be.
- Trust your gut – If at any point in your journey, you feel uncomfortable, be sure to end your ride. For extra measure, the app has an in-built emergency button connecting you straight to 911. The app also gives your location in real-time and the details of your trip which you can provide to the dispatcher.
- Be polite – Many riders get carried away, disregarding the driver. You must avoid this by showing respect to the driver and other passengers if present, this is an important part of Uber’s guidelines. It also ensures a peaceful ride.
So you’ve gotten to your destination and you’re happily walking off into the sunset. You should take a minute to give your feedback on the ride. Your rating and feedback ensure that more measures are put in place to guarantee you a better experience in your next ride.
For example, a driver in San Francisco struck one of his passengers in the head with a hammer in 2014. Another incident that year saw police arrest an Uber driver for allegedly engaging in a sexual assault of his female passenger.
In early 2014, an Uber driver was arrested after being suspected of hitting a woman and her two young children with his car in Union City, California while they were walking across a crosswalk. The woman and her four-year-old son were injured.
The six-year-old daughter was killed in the incident.
One problem many analysts have encountered in trying to determine the safety records of these ridesharing platforms, as well as the safety records of traditional taxi companies, is the way in which crimes rape are tracked by law enforcement in different jurisdictions.
Many of the nation’s police departments have relatively ineffective systems in place for effectively tracking where sexual assaults and similar crimes occur.
That can make it difficult for outside researchers to determine just how safe Uber passengers really are from crime-related dangers.
The Inherent Risk
One thing should be obvious: riders are at risk whenever they climb into any vehicle with a stranger. The important thing is to keep things in perspective. While there have been accidents related to vehicles driven by Uber operators, and even some crimes committed by those individuals, the same can be said for Lyft and most taxi companies in the world.
Despite background checks and other failsafe efforts, neither Uber nor any other ridesharing or taxi service in the world can ever completely guarantee passenger safety. That places the onus on riders to remain vigilant about their own safety, avoid traveling on their own, and report any behavior that seems suspicious or the ordinary to Uber or relevant law enforcement officials.
Is It Safe to Take an Uber or Lyft During Coronavirus?
Hailing a taxi or ordering a ride with your phone may have been part of your daily routine — but most forms of public transportation, services Uber and Lyft have come under scrutiny in an attempt to stem the novel coronavirus.
Public transit systems have instituted new procedures to keep their buses, trains, and ferries as sanitized as possible, including many taxi service providers.
But since scientists across the globe have found evidence that suggests COVID-19 is primarily spread in close contact with strangers — talking, coughing, or sharing the same air with someone within 6 feet of you for more than 10 minutes — cars face an added challenge.
Taking a taxi is risky not only because there's no way to ensure a 6-foot bubble, but also because not all COVID-19 carriers exhibit symptoms, meaning any of the passengers before you or the driver may be harboring infectious airborne droplets.
Sandra Kesh, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and the deputy medical director at Westmed Medical Group, acknowledges that ridesharing services have implemented new procedures in an attempt to protect passengers.
Uber and Lyft have discontinued shared rides and have also encouraged riders to abide by best practices — wearing masks, taking advantage of in-car hand sanitizer when available, avoiding travel if they have any symptoms, and generally staying home.
Uber specifically announced a new program in May that requires drivers to take a picture of themselves with a mask on before they begin working. It also has limited passengers to the rear row of seats.
Other taxi services across the nation are subject to local ordinances and may require passengers to wear masks, or simply have not allowed drivers to carry passengers at all just yet.
That said, the apparent risks in taking a taxi pushes Dr. Kesh to suggest that riders avoid taxis altogether, especially people who are not using these services for an urgent, essential need. “I think with some scenarios, it's kind of too soon to get back to normal — and this is one of them, unfortunately,” she explains.
Taking other forms of transportation may allow you to have more space to yourself and avoid sharing immediate air supply. At the very least, asking family or friends to pick you up allows you to have a better sense of their health status, how clean their vehicle is, and who else has been in the car.
If possible, try renting your own vehicle, or think about buying a bicycle to help you commute instead.
Below, Dr. Kesh reviews the risks of taking a taxi during the coronavirus pandemic. If you can't avoid it, she also shares her must-follow safety tips to minimize as many of these risks as possible.
What are the risks of using a taxi or ridesharing services?
Here are some of the most significant ways that a taxi may increase your risk to contract SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
- The health status of your driver. There is extensive research suggesting that many COVID-19 carriers don't know they are sick because they don't exhibit any symptoms. These individuals may easily spread coronavirus simply because they are unaware — in some cases, data suggests that this kind of spread may account for nearly half of the cases in an area. A passenger doesn't know whether a hired taxi driver may be sick, or if they're following best practices to limit their exposure to SARS overall. Have they been wearing masks and washing hands frequently? There's no way to know.
- Previous passengers before you. The same reasoning applies to those who have been sitting in the passenger seat before you have. You can't be certain whether a previous passenger who may be sick has touched a surface that you'll touch. As opposed to accepting a ride from a family member or a close friend, taxis that are operating currently may well be exposed to more people harboring COVID-19 on a daily or even hourly basis.
- The cleanliness of the vehicle. Rideshare companies have been working to provide drivers with cleaning supplies and updated guidance on how to clean their interiors. But Dr. Kesh asks, how can you be sure that your seat has been properly disinfected before you sit in it? Shared surfaces of the vehicle may play host to viable infectious droplets spewed by previous passengers or the cab's driver. Previous research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine established that SARS can be viable on plastic and metal for up to three days. Dr. Kesh points out that the virus' viability on fabric and porous surfaces isn't clear just yet, but it's highly ly that germs can be viable on a seat throughout an entire day, on which multiple passengers have sat.
- Shared air space. Lastly, unless you're driving in a convertible or a lengthy three-row sedan, there's a very good chance you are sharing air in an enclosed space with a driver. Air conditioning and air flow in general may play a role in the spread of coronavirus, and car's AC systems can actually recycle the air inside the vehicle, which may further propel infectious airborne particles throughout the vehicle during your ride.
How can I make taxis as safe as possible?
Dr. Kesh recognizes that essential workers may have no choice but to rely on local taxis or Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services. If you must take a taxi, here's a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.
- Wear a mask, and make sure your driver does as well. Wearing a mask in an enclosed space is crucial, since it may stop you (or the driver) from spewing infectious droplets into the air around you. A mask or a face covering won't necessarily save you from breathing in these particles, but it's better than nothing at all. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable canceling your ride or politely asking your driver to wear a mask; Uber, as an example, has required both passengers and drivers to do so.
- Roll down your windows. It's crucial to avoid stagnant airflow, so ask the driver to lower the windows around you to encourage fresh air flow. “Be sure that the air is circulating within the car with windows down throughout the entire ride,” Dr. Kesh advises. If the weather's lousy, drivers can work to keep fresh air coming into the vehicle by disabling air recirculation on their air conditioning controls.
- Avoid the front seat, and sit behind a partition if possible. While much current research has been conducted in laboratory or hospital settings, scientists have suggested that infectious particles have the ability to effortlessly travel through the air in open spaces, let alone a vehicle — in one case, viable droplets were shown to carry from room to room. Put as much distance between you and the drive of the vehicle as possible. In some areas, partitions are being installed in cabs that didn't have them previously. While partitions are by no means a failsafe effort, Dr. Kesh explains they may help combat the risk of sharing air. “It's certainly better than no barrier,” she says.
- Use contactless payment. Or step outside the vehicle before handing your driver cash. Rideshares are already pre-paid, but having the driver turn towards you to accept a taxi fare is a greater risk. Stepping outside to hand cash into an open window lets you avoid direct face-to-face contact.
- Bring hand sanitizer, and do not touch your face. Clean your hands as soon as possible after opening doors, touching seat belts and buttons, and exiting the vehicle. The largest risk for contact transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has to do with touching the viable virus on a surface and then rubbing your eyes, picking your nose, or putting your fingers inside your mouth. If you choose to wear gloves, be sure to properly dispose of them after you exit the vehicle, and immediately wash your hands when possible.
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Is Uber Safe to Use: Meet the Faces of Uber
I’m an Uber user.
I’m also a 5ft tall woman who travels around the world solo.
And I regularly get asked is Uber safe to use. Worse, I often get told that Uber isn’t safe. Usually by people who’ve never taken an Uber. So, what’s the deal?
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Is Uber safe to use or not?
If Uber’s done one thing, it’s caused controversy. From licensed taxi companies who are spitting foam at the idea of cut price competition to the naysayers who are convinced that every other Uber passenger is going to be subject to rape, robbery or both, Uber seems to be facing fresh challenges every day; yet its momentum and success continue to snowball.
And, it seems, the better Uber does, the more horror stories hit the headlines. Search the web and on page one you’ll find more than a slack handful of stories that will make you shiver. But let’s take a step back for a moment and look at these facts through a wider lens.
For every person who tells me that women get attacked in Uber cars, I have to reply: has nobody ever been attacked in a mini-cab? People die in hospitals every year. Sometimes those deaths are caused by doctors. Rarely, but it has happened – a doctor or two does it on purpose. Does that stop people going to hospitals?
The church and cases of sexual abuse. Same point.
These may be extreme examples to drag out. But so is the notion that if I take an Uber ride, something bad is going to happen. For sure. Yet these scaremongering stories continue to circulate.
I didn’t realise until recently, that one of the main websites cataloguing all of the bad things that Uber drivers have ever have done, from using a mobile while driving to pushing past the speed limit, is run by Uber’s competitor, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association. With Uber having gained a value at over $41bn, I can see the motivation for traditional taxi companies to discredit their competitor.
There have also been a lot of concern raised about the robustness of Uber’s background checks, yet what is rarely written about is the argument that Uber’s checks are possibly more robust and uniform than those used by traditional taxi companies.
Uber is more than skewed statistics – Uber is about its people
The one thing I’ve found most compelling from everything I’ve read is that the facts are not clear-cut. Real stories of attacks are horrifying but mostly the headline stories are anecdotal. They are not representative of the service as a whole and, as compared to the safety of normal taxis, the statistics simply don’t exist to compare.
So, I don’t have a definitive answer about Uber’s safety (and nor does anyone else) but I do have my own experience.
I’ve ridden Uber many, many times – in the past year I’ve taken Uber about 90% of the time compared to standard taxis – and as a solo female traveller, I’ve never had any concerns for my safety when I’ve been riding Uber.
In fact, the only unpleasant taxi experiences I have ever had (including one driver stopping the car to try to touch me, another driving screaming abuse at me for not having change and countless drivers trying to rip me off) – those incidents have all happened in traditional taxis.
I fell in love with Uber on my very first ride in 2014. But it’s not just about the service, as slick as it is (we’re in the cyber age – we absolutely should be able to order a ride with a tap on an app and monitor the arrival via GPS). It’s not even about the prices, which are consistently cheaper than the conventional cab companies.
It’s about the people. It’s about the drivers of Uber.
For all of the Ubers I’ve sat in, and as different as all those drivers have been, one thing that has struck me consistently is the stories they have told me about how they came to drive for Uber. They aren’t people who have signed up with sinister intent, they are people who have been given an opportunity and have taken it with full gratitude applied.
I can’t give you the absolute percentages on safety, but I can share with you the stories of the people I’ve met. I can give you some insight into the faces of Uber.
Meet Harley, the Anthropologist, San Diego
I took my first Uber ride with Harley from San Diego. It was a Friday night and I was off to a house party courtesy of some new friends I’d met in the city. From the get-go I got the vibe that Uber has a different type of driver. You see, Harley didn’t really need the money. He was tee-total and had become tired of following his friends from club to club on a Friday night.
With the birth of Uber, he decided to try something else. He wanted to see what the rest of the city was up to in all it’s eclectic forms over the weekend.
Harley gave all the usual kinds of rides – to bars, restaurants and parties but the rides he enjoyed most were the ones he gave to tourists.
He d to chat to people about their lives in their home countries – what the weather was , what food they ate, what work was and what they did on a Friday night back home.
A little myself, Harley collects stories – stories of people and within that 20 minute Uber ride, I was hooked on this new taxi service.
Meet Sammi, the Pharmacology Student, New York
I rode with Sammi through Manhattans’ quiet night streets. I was exhausted from my late evening flight but, as ever, my Uber driver had me riveted with his story.
Sammi was a pharmacology student by day and an Uber driver by night. And without Uber he’d never be able to afford to put himself through college.
Sammi wanted to pursue a life as a pharmacologist researcher but he was realistic about the cost of study and his ly low salary when he qualified.
Not wanting a life of debt, Sammi started driving for Uber and, so far, in his second year of study, he’d managed to stay debt-free. Even better, he was now earning enough money that he was just a few months away from taking a trip to Dubai to see some old school friends. Without Uber he wouldn’t have been able to afford his education or his reunion trip.
Meet Chris, the Ex-Combat Photographer, Vermont
One thing that fascinates me about Uber is that most of the driver have or have had an alternative career and Chris happened to be one of the most interesting drivers I’ve met.
Once upon a time he was a combat photographer in Afghanistan.
He’s been driving Uber for six months and is enjoying it so much he’s just upgraded his car to a swish Chrysler to make life more luxurious for his passengers.
Chris spent a long time in Afghanistan and every day he became more concerned that he was going to run luck. It also gave him real clarity on life. The Middle East wasn’t where he wanted to be. He wants to move to Hawaii. He’s already picked out his the beach area where he wants to live on the North Shore and with Uber also operating in Hawaii, it’s more than possible to make the move.
Meet Eddie, the Cruiser, Dallas
I took a long ride with Eddie because even sitting in an Uber for a one and a half hour round trip was cheaper than hiring, parking and re-fuelling a rental car. Eddie is only planning to drive Uber until he’s earned enough spending money for his upcoming anniversary cruise.
Eddie had been married for 20 years and he’s finally decided it’s time to leave the USA. Being able to work for Uber, he’s not going to have to worry about treating his wife or taking those pricey shore excursions.
Finally he’ll get to see a bit of the world and he plans on doing it in style.
Meet Taylor, the corporate burn out, San Diego
Taylor was my first female driver. She is in her early 30’s and until recently had held down a high-pressured sales job for a big corporation.
Burn-out struck and she walked away from her healthy salary in preference for a more healthy and less stressful lifestyle.
Taylor hasn’t quite figured out what her new career is going to be but sitting at home on her own was driving her (and her boyfriend) crazy.
So, while she figured stuff out and to encourage herself the house and back into meeting people, Taylor started to drive Uber, and she is loving it. She found out about all the different types of work people do – whether they love it, whether they hate and what kind of lives they have. Taylor still hasn’t found her own new career path but she was loving her Uber job in the meantime.
Meet Brian, the Apple Addict, Nashville
Brian was driving Uber to feed his Apple habit (the computer brand, not the fruit). With four children at home and a wife to support, there wasn’t much left in his monthly pay check for luxury items. In fact, his wife had been pretty direct – if he wanted an expensive toy he was going to have to earn extra money to get it. So, Brian started driving for Uber.
Monday to Friday he works in IT but for a few hours over the weekend and one night a week, Brian is a part-time Uber driver. He doesn’t take as many shifts as other drivers but at least this way he has a nice balance of still being able to spend time with his family while knowing that every ride gets him that bit closer to owning an iPad.
Meet Dave, the Reluctant Retiree, Albuquerque
To be honest, Dave didn’t know downtown Albuquerque that well but he’d invested in a GPS and despite being a little nervous, he was managing just fine. Dave’s confidence had taken quite a knock in recent months.
At 60 years old he’d suddenly been made redundant and he’d faced one set back and rejection after another as he tried and failed to get a new job. Aside from the problem of losing his income, Dave wasn’t ready to retire.
He’d planned to work at least a few more years, but the modern job market just wasn’t operating in his favour. And then a friend recommended Uber.
Driving for a living was an entirely new way of making money but Dave was enjoying being his own boss and, most of all, was grateful for the opportunity to work when he felt nobody else wanted him because of his age.
Meet Ralph, the Traditional Taxi Driver
I can’t remember exactly where I met Ralph (too many Ubers to remember) but I recall his story because Ralph was the first driver I’d spoken to who’d jumped ship from traditional taxi driving. “I could work half a month before I actually made any money,” Ralph told me.
When he’d been a traditional taxi driver working for the city licensed taxi company, it could sometimes take him a few weeks of driving before he paid off his monthly fee to the taxi company. Living that way was very difficult when he had to budget his income for his family.
Not to mention the fact he was handing over so much money to the taxi company.
Uber was much better for drivers, he told me. He got to keep the bulk of his fare (80%), which meant he was making money from day one. “I don’t understand why all the other taxi drivers are complaining so much. They should just quit and join Uber, too.” I’m no taxi driver and I’m no economist, but Ralph’s point made complete sense to me.
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Meet Derrick, the Grandfather in Detroit
Derrick left Detroit decades ago when things were bad and had no promise of getting better. He left with his family for Florida and for many years settled in the sunshine. But Detroit has turned a corner and as much as Derrick has enjoyed the sun, he wanted to return to his home state and his home city.
Prompted by his daughter’s desire to return to her roots, Derrick followed his family back to Detroit, but it was hard to get work there – until he heard about Uber. Thanks to Uber, Derrick can earn enough money to live in Detroit, where unemployment is high, and he can spend time with his grandchildren.
Even better, he can share all his best tips on what to see and do in Detroit with everyone who gets in the back of his ride.
I would never encourage somebody to do something if their instinct was telling them not to. For me, the scare stories may grab headlines, but I’ve not read any statistics or hard facts that make me believe me there is a real risk to my safety of using Uber. Meanwhile, the service is extremely well executed and even better priced.
But above all that – for all of the wonderful stories of dreams come true that I’ve heard in the back of Uber cars, if I can in any way contribute, I’ve no intention of quitting Uber any time soon.
If you’re new to Uber, use this code for $20 off your first ride (USA only): jof558ue. After you sign up and set your pick-up location there will be a box to add your code on the next page.
Have you ever taken Uber? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.
All names have been changed. Main image: damon jah
8 Ways To Stay Safe On Your Next Uber Ride, According To Drivers
While millions of people use ride-share apps Uber and Lyft daily without incident, accidents and seriously dangerous situations still happen.
Last week, Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old college student in South Carolina, was found dead after getting into a car that police said she mistook for her Uber.
The suspect, who is not a driver for Uber or Lyft, has been apprehended and charged, but ride-share app users may still be a little spooked and concerned about the safety of using the apps and others them.
An Uber spokesperson told HuffPost that since 2017, the company has been working with law enforcement to educate the public about how to avoid fake ride-share drivers, and in the coming weeks, the company is launching a social media campaign called Check Your Ride in an effort to increase awareness and safety. (Lyft has not responded to a request for comment.)
While these steps are helpful, no one knows ride-sharing better than the drivers. HuffPost reached out to two drivers for Uber and Lyft, who shared their best advice for getting to your destination as safely as possible.
Check The License Plate
“The best way to ensure that you’re getting into the right car is making sure it matches the license plate in the app,” said Harry Campbell, the founder of The Rideshare Guy and author of The Rideshare Guide. Campbell is an Uber, Lyft and Doordash driver based in LA.
“I always tell passengers you can use the make and the model to identify the car, but you never want to get into a car that doesn’t have a license plate or doesn’t match the car in your app,” he said.
Uber echoed this important step. “When requesting a trip through the Uber app, you receive the driver’s photo, name, the car make/model and license plate number,” an Uber spokesperson said. “We remind riders to double check these two important details before starting a trip: the driver and the car.”
Know What Questions To Ask And Answer
While many of us enjoy a silent ride, there’s a little bit of small talk that should always be exchanged before getting into the car.
“The drivers are required to know your name and destination before you get in,” said Chelsea Burton, who drove for Uber in Minneapolis. “I would recommend, before getting inside the car, basically asking the driver to parrot that info back to you. Because if they don’t know you, there’s something wrong.”
Burton also recommended asking the driver’s name to make sure it matches the person on your app before buckling in.
Keep Your Wits About You
One great thing about the advent of apps Uber and Lyft is that they provide a convenient, safe option to get home after a night of drinking. But a fun night out can make it easy to forget standard safety checks.
“Getting extremely impaired increases your chances of something going wrong during or after the ride,” said Campbell.
Also, don’t assume that all Uber or Lyft drivers are good people.
“I’ve never personally been concerned about registered drivers doing something dangerous. That’s because the background checks are strong enough that they’d have to be really stupid to do something and think they’ll get away with it. But some people are that stupid,” reminded Burton.
Watch Where You Sit
“If a driver asks you to get into the front seat, that’s a good opportunity to reassess the situation,” Campbell said. “I also don’t recommend sitting directly behind the driver. That’s always kind of weird. Late at night, a driver could be transporting someone and if you sit right behind them, they can’t see you, and you can’t see them and what they may be up to.”
Campbell recommended always sitting in the back seat on the passenger’s side for both your safety and the driver’s comfort.
Mlenny via Getty Images
When calling an Uber or Lyft, choose the safest places get picked up and dropped off.
Get Picked Up And Dropped Of In A Safe Location
“It’s best to get picked up in a populated area, maybe not in the middle of a throng of people,” Campbell recommended. “When the bars let out, a lot of people call a ride right in front of a bar, and it may be unsafe to pull over, or it may be difficult to find your driver. Maybe look for an area that may be one or two minutes away that’s still a safe, well-lit area.”
Burton advised getting in and out at a secure location but not necessarily at your home. “It’s never a good idea to let strangers know your exact address. If the weather is good enough and you feel safe, why not just have yourself dropped off a block away?”
Look Out For Red Flags
In addition to checking your driver’s license plate and name, there are a few other things riders should be aware of.
“Look out for drivers who are not in the car that the app says they’re supposed to be driving or they’re not seeming sober or there’s someone else in the car with them, their friend or someone. I would recommend not getting into those cars and calling another ride,” Burton said.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out
If you’re already in your car and you spot a red flag or two, don’t be afraid to end the ride early.
“Look for opportunities where you can easily escape and always try to defuse the situation,” said Campbell. “Say something , ‘I just got an emergency text or phone call. Can you pull over?’”
“What you can also do is just add a stop that’s midride or close to where you currently are and then just get out at that stop,” Burton said.
Communication Is Key
Above all, Campbell and Burton stressed that staying in communication with your driver can keep both of you safe. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions.
“I definitely feel more safe and comfortable when the driver waits until I get inside [the building], especially when it’s dark. It doesn’t hurt to just ask them to do that,” Burton said.
You should also keep in touch with friends so they can also be aware of your location.
“Uber and Lyft both have an option to share your trip with a friend or family member. So they know that you’re getting home safely and on time,” Campbell said. “Every time you get into the car, you shouldn’t have to do a 12-point safety check, but there are definitely some things to look out for.”