Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are essential travel methods for many people these days. Whether you need a ride to the airport or a car home after a night out, these companies offer convenient cab-like services at competitive rates. However, it is important to remember that you are getting in the car with a stranger. While Uber and Lyft conduct background checks on their drivers, it is still important to be aware of your surroundings and your personal safety. Keep reading for the top tips on how riders can stay safe during Uber and Lyft rides.
Stay inside as long as possible
Your safety concerns start before you even get into an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Request a driver from an indoor location to minimize your time spent outside. Wait for your driver to arrive or get close to your location before stepping outside. By reducing the time spent standing outside, you can stay in a well-lit or populated area for longer.
Pick a safe destination
Getting dropped off in a sketchy part of town or an unfamiliar location is not always the best idea. When using Uber or Lyft services, it is best to pick a destination that you know, one that is populated, or one where a friend is expecting you. These types of places keep you from ending up in an unfamiliar or unsecure place all by yourself.
Ride with others when possible
Sometimes you cannot avoid taking an Uber or Lyft alone. However, if you are able to ride with friends, then do so. Meet up at a central location and take a car together to your shared destinations. This eliminates a lot of time spent by yourself.
Verify driver information
When your Uber or Lyft arrives, check the vehicle before approaching. Does it match the make, model and color provided by the app? Is the license plate the same, including the state? You should even check the driver photo on the app to ensure it matches the driver in the vehicle. If any of this information does not match, do not get in the vehicle.
Confirm your name with the driver
Instead of asking the driver if they are here to pick you up, ask who they are picking up. This requires the driver to confirm your first name, which appears on their Uber or Lyft app. You can ask, “What’s my name,” or “Who are you picking up,” to further confirm you are getting into the right vehicle. You should also confirm your destination with the driver. If they do not state your destination, you can ask, “Do you know where we are going?”
Sit in the back seat
Unless you are riding with a large group, there is no reason to sit in the front passenger seat. The safest place to sit, according to Uber, is the back seat. If you are riding alone, do not sit directly behind the driver. Sitting behind the passenger seat provides a better line of site to the driver and the road ahead.
Wear a seatbelt
Part of personal safety during an Uber or Lyft ride involves being a considerate passenger. Follow all traffic laws for passengers, including wearing your seatbelt. Don’t distract the driver or do anything dangerous during your trip.
Stay alert during the ride
Staying aware or your surrounding can help keep you safe. Your driver should always follow traffic laws, including maintaining the proper speed limit. Keep an eye on the road or follow along with the map in your Uber or Lyft app to ensure you are going the right way. Your driver may take a different turn here or there to avoid construction work or traffic, but they should maintain a steady direction towards your destination.
Tell someone about your trip
With both Uber and Lyft, you can share your trip with others from the app. By sharing your trip status or sharing your route, a friend or family member can follow along with your ride to ensure you reach your destination safely. When you get in the car, you can also call someone to let them know you are in your Uber or Lyft and on your way.
If you do not think you can get ahold of someone, leave yourself a voice memo that sounds like a phone call. Something as simple as, “I just got in my Uber, so I should be there soon,” can let the driver know that your trip is being tracked.
Communicate with the driver
You should never be afraid to ask your driver questions. If you are unsure about anything during your ride, don’t hesitate to speak out. Remain polite and avoid distracting the driver, but steady communication can help you both feel more at ease. If you are worried, you can ask your driver to wait for you to get inside at your destination.
Trust your gut
Above all else, trust your instincts. If someone feels off, cancel your trip and book again. During your ride, you can ask to get out of the vehicle. If you spot any red flags or have concerns, ask your driver to pull over and let you out. You can blame an emergency text message or whatever you need to say to safely exit the vehicle. Remember, as the rider you can end the trip any time you feel unsafe.