Rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, are good options when walking or driving is unsafe. These services can help you get to where you need to go, but knowing how to stay safe while using them is important. Below are some tips for using ride sharing services safely.
Before Your Ride
- Get to know the app. Before you start using a particular ride sharing service, familiarize yourself with the app. Look through the app for any safety tips they provide, and find the app’s emergency call function. This function will show important information, such as the car make, model, and license plate number, so you can share it with a 911 operator in an emergency.
- Request your ride indoors and wait for it there. Avoid lingering outside alone with your phone in your hand. This could make you a target for predators posing as rideshare drivers who may try to trick you into thinking they’re your ride. It also increases your chances of having your phone or other items stolen by thieves. Instead, book your ride indoors, and wait inside until the app shows your driver has arrived. If you can’t wait inside, wait in a well-lit area where it’s easy for the driver to pull up safely.
- Check your driver’s rating. Before getting in your ride, check the driver’s rating. Anything above 4.7 is an excellent rating. You want to be sure that your driver has prior experience and is trustworthy.
When Your Ride Arrives
- Confirm the car, license plate, and driver. When your ride arrives, check to see if the car, license plate, and driver match the description on the app. If it doesn’t match, it isn’t your ride, and you should not get in the car.
- Ask the driver for your name. Before getting in the car, ask the driver who they’re picking up. This will ensure that the car is for you and that the driver is a real driver from the app. If the driver asks you to verify your name or theirs, don’t lean into the car to do so. This could make it easier for you to be pulled into the vehicle.
During Your Ride
- Share your ride with a trusted friend or family member. Many ride sharing services have functions that allow you to share your route, estimated arrival time, car, and driver information with someone else. Share your ride with someone so they know exactly where you are and when you’re safely at your destination. Check the websites for Uber and Lyft to learn how to share your ride.
- Use Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze to track your destination. Add your destination on your own map and track your route along the way to be sure that the driver is taking you to the correct place. This is especially important if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
- Call a friend or family member. If riding alone, call up a friend or family member and talk to them the entire ride. Let them know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Not only will they know your whereabouts, but this will let the driver know that people are waiting for you and/or know where you are.
- Keep your personal information personal. There’s nothing wrong with conversing with your driver. However, it’s best to leave out personal details, like your full name, where you like to hang out, or where you work. If you are traveling alone, keep it private – this can make you a target.
- Sit in the back seat, behind the driver. Sitting in the front seat increases your closeness and chance of contact with the driver. Sitting in the back seat behind the driver makes it more difficult for the driver to touch or threaten you.
- Wear your seat belt. Seat belts are there to protect you in the event of an accident. Be sure to buckle up.
Following these tips will help keep you safe when using ride sharing services. Consider putting them into practice the next time you’re on a ride.
For more information about safety, check out these resources:
Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.