Must-Know Uber Safety Tips
By Space Coast Daily // December 3, 2020
Rideshare companies like Uber offer tremendous convenience, and in many cases, they represent one of the safest forms of transportation. Uber is a way to avoid walking at night, and it’s an affordable option to prevent drinking and driving.
With that being said, sexual assaults and other personal safety risks are a concern. It’s not just passengers that face safety concerns.
In 2018, Uber drivers made more than 3,000 reports of sexual assaults in the U.S. During a survey about rideshare services, 23% of surveyed women said they’d had to report an uncomfortable experience with a driver.
With that in mind, the following are some general Uber safety tips to follow.
Know the Biggest Risks
By understanding some of the primary risks of rideshare services, you’re in a better position to avoid them.
For example, fake drivers are a big issue. You never want to get into the car with someone who isn’t actually your driver.
A good way to avoid this is always to ask what your own name is before getting in. Don’t get into a car unless the driver properly identifies you by your first name. They should also know your destination before you get into the car.
You can use your app to verify that the car’s model, make, and license plate line up too.
The driver has a profile picture in the app, so make sure you check that these match.
You should request your ride when you’re still indoors. Try to minimize the time you spend outdoors holding your phone in your hand because that can make you a target. Wait until your app shows you your driver has arrived if you can.
Ride in the Backseat
If possible, and especially if you’re riding alone, ride only in the backseat.
Not only does this put more distance between you and your driver but it also allows you to exit on either side of the vehicle safely.
Your driver will likely appreciate the personal space too.
Avoid sitting directly behind the driver if you’re the only passenger because neither of you can see what the other person is doing. Sit on the passenger side instead, if you can.
Use Share Trip Status
When you’re in the car and en route, use the app’s Share Trip Status feature. This lets you share information about the driver as well as your location. Then, whoever you’re sharing with will get a notification or text that will track your entire trip and let them know what your estimated time of arrival is.
Watch for Red Flags
Red flags might include a driver who seems impaired, or maybe they have someone else in the car with them. Don’t get in cars when you sense there’s a red flag. It’s important to follow your intuition in these situations.
If you’re already in the car and you feel like something is off, no matter what it might be, you should get out of the car too.
If you’re nervous to ask the driver to pull over, tell them you got an emergency text and need to get out.
Never be intimidated to ask a driver more questions if you feel like you need to.
If your driver isn’t safe behind the wheel, speak up. For example, if the driver is speeding, say something.
Avoid Drinking Too Much
Sure, using a rideshare app can be a great way to avoid drinking and driving, but if you’re too impaired, you can also be unsafe. When you’re extremely drunk or under the influence of a substance, you’re more vulnerable to personal safety risks and more likely to get in the wrong car.
Try to set limits for yourself anytime you’re out.
What If You’re Harassed?
If something happens that you feel is inappropriate or unsafe, what should you do?
If it’s a serious situation or life-threatening, you should call the police.
If it’s not a situation that requires the police, but it is problematic, you need to report it to the company. Uber and other rideshare companies say they will investigate situations reported to them where anyone fears for their safety or is being harassed.
Many of the biggest safety risks of being in a rideshare vehicle can be at least mitigated somewhat if you are mindful of who you’re getting in the car with and of any red flags.
If you ever have concerns, it’s better to follow your instincts, and you should get out of the car as soon as you can.
Safety Tips for Drivers
If you’re an Uber or rideshare driver, there are things you can do to protect yourself as well.
You should always verify your rider. Make sure their photo matches what you have in your app. Ask riders to confirm their name before they get in your car.
If you’re tired or not feeling up to driving, don’t. Drowsy driving can be deadly, and it’s a leading cause of auto accidents. Never text while you drive, and if you haven’t already done so, consider mounting your phone so that you can see it when you need it without looking down.
Encourage all of your riders to sit in the back seat.
As with people riding in Ubers or rideshare vehicles, as a driver, you should also always follow your instincts and intuition. If you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, there is an emergency button in the app you can use.
If you call 911 via the app, then the emergency services providers can see your real-time location as well as trip details.
If you feel unsafe, end a ride as soon as you can.
Finally, you may also have the added concerns of COVID-19 transmission if you’re currently driving. You should wear a mask anytime you’re driving and require that your passengers do the same. Crack your windows for more ventilation.
The current requirement from Uber is that both drivers and riders do wear face coverings. You’ll also have to use the new selfie software from the company to verify this.