In recent years, ridesharing has become one of the most popular ways to get around all over the world with companies like Uber, Lyft, Grab, BlaBlaCar, and many others. Rideshare has replaced the traditional taxi service for many people. Whether this is your first rideshare or you’re a seasoned rider, it is essential to make sure that you know how to be safe.
Here are 18 important safety tips, in no particular order, for travelers who use rideshare services:
- Be careful when requesting a ride; stay inside until the car is at your stop.
- Check your driver’s rating.
- Check the driver’s information once the car arrives before getting into the car.
- Share your trip with a loved one, so someone knows where you are.
- Be careful when getting in and out of the car.
- Always sit in the backseat.
- Always buckle your seatbelt even if you are sitting in the backseat.
- Make sure the child lock is not engaged.
- Track your ride.
- Always keep the app open.
- Don’t give out your credit card information.
- Always leave a rating.
- Don’t give out any personal information.
- Follow your intuition.
- Remain alert.
- Always respect your driver.
- Don’t distract your driver.
- Don’t ask your driver to do anything illegal.
If you keep up with national news, you know that there have been a few rideshare experiences that have ended badly. But these tips will help you make informed decisions and keep you safe. It will also give your loved one’s peace of mind knowing that you are okay.
Important Rideshare Safety Tips for Travelers
You might think that most of these tips are common sense and don’t apply to you, but let these tips serve as a reminder for you since people sometimes forget the most basic things when they get into the habit of doing something.
It is always important to refresh our minds and, who knows, maybe you will learn something new after all.
Eighteen tips that can ensure ridesharing safety are:
1. Requesting the Ride:
It is always better if you request the ride before going outside, especially if you are located in a deserted neighborhood. Additionally, if you are alone with your belongings outside, it is like you are giving the thieves a signal to come and rob you.
Track the ride on your phone, once it is a few seconds to a minute away, go outside, so you have time to verify if the car you ordered is the car that is picking you up.
2. Check Your Driver’s Rating:
When you request a ride, the GPS locates the closest driver to your location and assigns the trip to that driver. You then get a notification with the driver’s information as well as the car information.
Included with that information is the rating of the driver. You want to make sure the driver assigned to you is rated four stars or higher, especially if you are traveling by yourself.
If you see that you are assigned a driver with low ratings, you can quickly cancel the ride and request another one. It is important to note that you need to cancel right away, do not wait until the driver is halfway to your location. If you take too long to cancel, it is not fair to the driver, and you will be charged $5 for the cancellation.
3. Check the Driver’s Information:
It’s always better to go outside just a few seconds before the car arrives, so you can quickly compare the car and driver information given on your app to the vehicle that is picking you up. The information provided to you is the vehicle color, plate number, name of the driver, and the driver’s photo.
Your safety is important: Check to ensure the information on the app matches the car in front of you.
This is a critical step because, if something goes wrong, the police will not be able to track you because they won’t have the correct information. This tip isn’t to scare you into never using a rideshare company, but rather to make you aware of all the risks.
If you see that the information doesn’t match, let the driver know before you get in the car and report it to the rideshare company. This will help ensure your safety as well as the safety of other passengers who aren’t as careful about getting into the correct vehicle.
In addition to the car’s physical description, make sure the driver is the same one depicted in the picture.
Lastly, always ask who the driver is there to pick up, don’t give your name first. Let the driver supply that information. They should have your information on their app, so they know they are picking up the right passenger, and you know that you are getting into the right car.
4. Share Your Trip:
Rideshare apps have developed quickly and come a long way from what they used to be when the concept was first introduced. As these rides become more popular and as they get feedback (or as the companies learn from their mistakes), they make upgrades to the app to add more features.
One such feature is the “Share Your Trip” feature. Different companies have different names for this feature, but they all have the functionality.
This feature allows you to share your trip with one or more people so that they can track your ride as well, just in case. It is a great practice to use this feature whenever you are traveling alone, getting a ride late at night, if you are intoxicated, or if you just want to be cautious. That is what the feature is there for, so use it.
5. Be Careful When Getting In and Out of the Car:
Depending on your area, this might be one of those important reminders that people don’t think about enough.
Sometimes, you can be picked up or dropped off on a busy street where there are cars, bikes, bicycles, or even people walking. Make sure you look before opening your doors to prevent unnecessary accidents.
It just takes a few seconds to turn around and check if it is safe for you to get out, so don’t miss this step. If you feel lazy, just ask the driver if it is safe to open the door, and they will check for you.
6. Sit in the Back Seat:
If you’re traveling in a group and all of you will not fit in the back seat, ask the driver if one of you can sit in the front. Otherwise, always sit in the back. This way, you aren’t invading the driver’s personal space and vice versa.
Also, on the off chance that you are in danger, sitting in the back seat gives you a better chance to escape if the need arises.
7. Wear Your Seatbelt:
It is so easy to ignore this very simple step, but it is an essential part of being safe in a car. Just like being in any other car, you are not immune to accidents in a rideshare vehicle. Having your seatbelt on might just save your life.
Also, just because you are sitting in the back seat doesn’t mean you are safe in case of an accident, so please wear your seatbelt. It only takes a second to click it on.
8. Ensure Child Lock is Not Engaged:
The child lock mechanism is probably one thing you won’t consider. If you don’t have a child, you might not even know what this means.
A child lock is a locking mechanism that prevents you from opening the door from the inside of the car. If it is engaged, you have to open the door from the outside. The lock is there as a safety measure to prevent children from opening the car door by accident when they are sitting in the back by themselves.
The best way to do this without looking conspicuous is just opening the door really quickly after you get in, giving an excuse that your clothes or purse strap is stuck, and no one will suspect anything.
9. Always Track Your Ride:
Once you are in the car, keep an eye on the app to make sure you are going the right way and that the driver isn’t taking any unnecessary detours.
The route can always be displayed on the app and is the same one that the driver sees on his end. This is so you both have the same information to decrease the risk of danger. If the driver lets you know beforehand that he is taking a detour and if you are familiar with the area, you can make the decision of sticking to the mapped out routing or taking the detour.
If you are not familiar with the area, your best bet is to let the driver know you would like to take the route determined by the app. One exception to this is when there is a traffic detour. However, in this case, your map will reroute, and you will still be able to follow the route making sure that your end destination is the same.
Additionally, if a loved one is tracking your ride, they can call you or the driver to make sure that everything is ok and that you are safe.
10. Always Keep the App Open:
This may sound silly, or you may want to entertain yourself during the ride by being on social media, playing a game, or being on the phone, but keep checking your rideshare app to make sure you are still going the right way.
Another reason why you want to keep the app open or close to you is because there is a new “Panic” button feature in the Uber and Lyft apps. This feature allows you to call for help in case of an emergency. Once you click the panic button, a call goes to 911 and the company, and they can track your ride and send someone to assist you.
11. Never Give Out Credit Card Information:
No matter what the driver says, never give out your credit card information.
There have been times when a driver has said that something went wrong, and payment didn’t go through, so they needed the passenger’s credit card information to get paid. Never give this information to the driver. It is a trick to get your information, and you will get robbed this way.
If the driver says that your payment didn’t go through, let them know that you will check the app and see if there is an issue. If they still insist, tell them they need to contact their company so that the company can contact you.
In case you didn’t realize this before, if your credit card were an issue, you wouldn’t have been able to book the ride in the first place. And if something does go wrong, then it is the company’s responsibility, not the driver’s responsibility, to resolve the issue.
12. Always Leave a Rating:
This isn’t necessarily a safety measure per se, but it does help with being safe. If you had a pleasant ride, then give the driver a five-star rating. This way, others will know that he or she is a good driver and trustworthy, according to your experience.
13. Protect Your Personal Information:
As you know, sometimes drivers and passengers can be chatty. Sometimes, when you are mid-conversation with a person, you may not realize that you are giving valuable personal information away.
So, always be careful with how much information you divulge to the driver. Don’t give them any particulars about your life that they can later use. These drivers are strangers, so always think back to your childhood when you were taught not to talk to strangers.
14. Follow Your Intuition:
Learn to listen to your intuition. If you feel that something isn’t right, then it probably isn’t. Never be afraid to ask the driver to stop the car at any point in your ride so you can exit the vehicle. Your fare will be consistent with the time at which you exited the car so you won’t lose any money.
Regardless, the driver shouldn’t have any issues with dropping you off at any point during the ride if you don’t feel comfortable.
15. Remain Alert:
Try to not fall asleep in the car or get into a rideshare vehicle when you are very intoxicated. It isn’t safe. Also, be aware of your surroundings at all times whether you are new to a place or somewhere familiar, staying aware of where you are, and where you are going is paramount to maintaining your safety.
16. Treat Your Driver with Respect:
Many times, people can feel like the drivers that drive these cars are beneath them, so they treat them rudely or show disrespect by either ignoring them entirely or talking to them in a condescending tone.
At the end of the day, what you need to realize is that these drivers are all human beings. Some of them are very successful and might be driving because they are down on their luck or just because they want extra money. Whatever the reason, always treat them with respect.
If you aren’t the chatty kind, no problem, you can greet the driver and leave it at that. If the driver is in a talkative mood, respectfully let them know that you’re not in the mood to chat.
17. Don’t Distract the Driver:
Try to not do anything in the car that will distract the driver and cause unnecessary accidents. This includes getting the driver too angry, excited, or even scared.
Believe it or not, sometimes safety is reduced when passengers are overly talkative, considerate, and kind. Allow your driver to concentrate on the road, and everything should be okay.
18. Don’t Ask Your Driver to Do Anything Illegal:
Last, but certainly not the least, don’t ask your driver to do anything they aren’t supposed to do. Never ask them to exceed the speed limit, make illegal turns, go the wrong way down one-way streets, etc. This can be dangerous not only for you but for the driver as well.
Additionally, the driver can get into trouble with the law and the company. Any tickets and fines the driver receives are paid by the driver and will take away from their earnings.
To Sum it Up
Some of these tips have some scary notes in them, but it is always better to be cautious and safe than dismissive and in danger. Remember, not everyone in the world is a good person, so always be alert and trust your gut, and you will be okay.
Another thing to remember is that rideshare has become one of the most used transportation services by our generation. If it were unsafe, it would not have become as popular as it is today.