Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are all the rage – it can be a great way to make some extra money if you are a driver – and also a great way to get where you need to go as a passenger. With the popularity of these apps sometimes we forget that we still need to take some basic safety precautions. Here’s what you need to know to make it a pleasant ridesharing experience for both drivers and passengers:
This post is sponsored by Reedman Toll Nissan of Drexelhill.
Tips for Drivers:
Being a driver can be just as dangerous (if not more so) than a passenger. Essentially you are allowing a stranger to get into your personal vehicle with no knowledge about them whatsoever. You are not only putting your self at risk, but your vehicle as well. So there are a few tips you can follow to be a bit more cautious as you are out there trying to make some extra money.
Watch Where You Park. Sometimes your passenger can be standing at a very busy intersection, or corner. Instead of picking them up directly where they stand it is OK to let them walk a few steps. Be sure that you are out of the way of traffic and in a safe spot – also be sure not to park over a crosswalk or emergency lane area.
Assess Passengers Before they Get In. As a driver you do have an option to decline a passenger a ride if you don’t feel safe. Compromising your safety isn’t worth the possible extra few bucks, or even customer satisfaction rating. You must always chose your safety over money making, or upsetting someone.
Be Cautious of Your Hours and Your Neighborhoods. The great thing about the ridesharing app as a driver is you get to pick what hours you work, and where you will go. You can avoid driving late night or early morning hours, and even avoid certain neighborhoods or areas that have a higher crime rate. You can use crime-mapping apps and websites to get an idea of how safe a neighborhood is, and if you aren’t comfortable with a certain area – then you decline and wait to accept a ride in an area you are more comfortable with. I know of people who even won’t drive passengers on the interstate and prefer to stay in the city and suburbs. That’s what is awesome – you get to chose what is right for you and what makes you feel safe.
Get a Dash Cam. Dash cam’s have a lot of useful functions. First off, just having one can discourage a rowdy passenger from acting out, or someone trying to harm you or rob you. Also, if you have a cam you have proof and footage of anything that happens in your vehicle, in case a lawsuit or accident/ticket would arise.
Tips for Passengers: Being a passenger in a rideshare vehicle can be dangerous as well – especially for women. You need to always be aware of your surroundings, and pay attention to the ‘star’ rating on your drivers when you pull them up on your app. I personally won’t take a ride from a driver who hasn’t been around for awhile if I’m alone; it’s just too much of a risk, and makes me nervous. Though you always need to be cautious, there are ways that you can be safe when getting a ride.
Make sure it’s the right car. Sounds pretty simple, but if you’ve been drinking ,or if there is a large group of people all leaving and ubering or whatever at the same time, you could see multiple cars there to pick up people – it would be very easy to get in the wrong car – or God forbid, even someone’s vehicle who was pretending to be your rideshare driver! Be sure to confirm car model, color, license plate number and even the driver’s picture on your app before getting in.
Leave early if you feel uncomfortable. If you start to get an odd feeling, you want to go ahead and get out as soon as possible. BEFORE you reach your destination. Pick a safe spot (preferably a busy place) and then call a friend, or family member – or even another rideshare driver. Also always make sure that you have your phone charged and some type of cash with you whenever you travel in a rideshare vehicle (or really anytime you travel).
Ride in the backseat. Though most ridesharing companies do require criminal background checks, it’s always a good idea to avoid any awkward situations. There’s always a chance you could get a driver that is acting in an inappropriate way, and it’s a lot easier to get out if you sit in the backseat than the front.
Use common sense. Just be smart – most ridesharing drivers are good people just looking to make some extra money, and it can be a great way to get to know new people (I have quite a few stories I’ve heard from my Uber drivers). Just keep these safety tips in mind, and enjoy the ride!