We’ve all been there: as we track our Uber driver on the app, we notice them stop, and they seem stuck. When they stay there for more than a few seconds, we know something must be up, but it’s not always clear what to do.
What do you do when your Uber driver is not moving? There are a few different reasons that can explain why your Uber driver stopped moving. The reasons range in varying degrees from innocent mistakes to flagrant avoidance.
- Traffic Jam or Accident
- The App is Lagging or Crashing
- Driver Forcing Your Cancellation
- The Driver is at the Wrong Address
As Murphy’s Law dictates, this will, of course, always happen to you when you are running late. So, to help make these aggravating moments a little easier, we’ll breakdown all these examples and how to react.
Traffic Jam or Accident
Traffic congestion is a pretty standard reason for Uber drivers suddenly stopping in their tracks. When you see a driver has stopped for a few seconds, you assume they’re at a long light, or maybe they are waiting for pedestrians to cross. But once it begins to pass the minute mark, it becomes worrisome.
In highly populated areas where traffic is notoriously bad, like Los Angeles, New York, or Washington D.C., you come to expect these instances. It’s just a part of living in these cities. So, it’s no shocker when traffic gets so backed up that you are stuck waiting to get moving for minutes at a time.
What Happens Next?
If the traffic has gotten so bad that the driver is completely stuck, then it is up to them to take the initiative. At this point, they should reach out to you through the app, to let you know their status and what their GPS is now telling them for a new ETA. The app won’t always update for a delay caused by traffic.
While it will track their location and give an estimated time of arrival, it won’t update because they are stuck. So, the driver should reach out to explain, provide a new ETA, and offer the option of them canceling the ride so that you are free to order a new ride.
If you cancel at this point, you will have to pay a cancellation fee. So, you will want to make sure the driver is the one to cancel the ride.
The App is Lagging or Crashing
We have become used to having everything at the touch of a button so when something glitches or goes wrong, it feels like it’s the end of the world. Spoiler alert: It’s not.
Many times, when you see your driver not moving, it means that the app is not updating correctly.
Common reasons for app issues:
- The app is lagging in the system and isn’t sending updates as quickly as it should
- The app has crashed and is not going to update again until you are in the ride
- Your phone is running off an old version of the Uber app and is running into conflicts
What Happens Next?
If you think the app may be lagging, try closing out of it and opening it back up. Sometimes that is enough to trigger the update, and it will show you the proper location.
In these instances, it will be up to you and your driver to communicate. Your driver will most likely have no idea that the app is not showing their correct location. If you do not come out and the driver doesn’t hear from you, they should attempt contacting you.
But if they don’t contact you and they cancel because they think you didn’t show up, you could potentially be charged a fee for missing the ride. If you are charged a fee for this, make sure to reach out to Uber and explain what happened so you can be refunded.
If you need to contact Uber, use the link to find out the multiple ways of doing so. The site also has tutorials on how to access their help section in the app.
Pro Tip: Drivers and riders are all rated by one another so there is a sense of familiarity and accountability with each other. If your app was lagging and your driver was waiting for you for a long time before they called to let you know they were there, be sure to explain to them what happened when you get into the car. If you don’t, they may think you were being rude or wasting their time. A quick explanation will encourage them to still give you a good rating.
Driver Forcing Your Cancelation
Luckily, this one is a somewhat rare occurrence. Simply put, the driver accepted your ride but then realized they don’t want to go to the neighborhood that you’re in, or maybe they realized you’re going across town against traffic, and they don’t want to deal with it.
Drivers are penalized when they cancel on riders. So, if the driver decides after they accept the ride that they no longer want it, they may sit and wait for the rider to cancel. This scenario helps the driver avoid a penalty but causes the rider to pay a $5 cancellation fee.
This is an unfortunate reality that happens from time to time. Market Watch posted an interesting article about the stand-off that will sometimes occur between driver and rider in situations like this.
What Happens Next?
If you notice a driver has been sitting for a long time, try to contact them. If they continuously do not answer, you have no choice but to cancel. Since you will be charged the fee at this point, we recommend reaching out to Uber to explain the situation. They will typically refund the fee, especially if you made attempts to contact the driver.
Not only should you report this to Uber for your refund, but also to flag a driver that may be doing this on purpose for their benefit.
The Driver is at the Wrong Address
After having to list one of the more nefarious reasons, we can end on a lighter one: The driver made a silly mistake and is at the wrong address. Drivers will end up using their form of GPS in many cases, rather than the Uber GPS app. So, if they got your address from the app and typed it into their GPS, they may have mistyped it.
As they pull up to the location where they think you are, you are probably looking at your app saying, “Why are they sitting down the street” or worse, “Why are they on the other side of town and just sitting there?” A simple “Ave” instead of “Street” typo could send them in a completely different direction to an incorrect address.
What Happens Next?
Hopefully, your driver will call after a while because you have not come out. At that point, you will be able to verify the address, and they can hopefully rectify the situation by coming to the correct address. But if they have gone out of the way and you are running late, you may need to cancel and find a new ride. Again, make sure you ask them to cancel so you don’t get charged the cancellation fee.
This mislocation issue can also happen due to the Uber app pulling up the wrong address for you if you only use their location service to find you, rather than entering an address. In this case, either one of you can cancel and reach out to Uber afterward to explain it was an error on the app, not user error.
How to Handle These Situations
No matter what the reason is, you should keep in mind a few simple steps that will help rectify the situation quickly.
- Close and reopen your app to see if you can clear up a lag or glitch
- Please keep in contact with your driver and communicate any issues with them
- Contact Uber when necessary for refunds or to further explain any issue
Good luck and happy Ubering!