This week’s question comes from Helen from San Jose, CA, who asks: I sometimes take an Uber or Lyft to sporting events and concerts because it is very convenient. Sometimes the rides feel awkward because I’m getting into a stranger’s personally owned vehicle. On one occasion, the driver ran a red light. It bothered me, but I did not say anything. I should have. Do you have safety tips while being a passenger in an Uber or Lyft?
Yes. There are things you can do to ensure your safety. Here are Dolan Law Firm’s Top Tips for Safety when using any rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
- Utilize the ratings. Always look at a driver’s ratings once the app connects you with a driver. Once matched, you will have the driver’s name, photo, and ratings. Do not accept rides from a driver with low ratings.
- Request your ride from a safe location. You should always request the ride from inside and from somewhere safe. Especially when alone, you should remain inside until your driver arrives.
- Always keep your phone with you. Do not request the ride from a phone (yours or someone else’s) and then get into the Uber or Lyft vehicle without a phone on your person.
- Make sure to get into the car in a safe location that you set. Never run across the roadway, jaywalk, or otherwise cross traffic or endanger yourself by getting into an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Always set the pickup location in an area that allows for your safe loading and ensure the driver picks you up in that location. This guideline ensures your safety and makes sure your driver has the correct information.
- Uber and Lyft show you the driver’s name, vehicle model and color, and license plate number. Ensure the driver’s license plate matches the driver you are connected to on the app. If the car matches but not the driver, you should cancel. Likewise, if the driver matches the photo, but the vehicle is different, you should cancel the ride.
- Always ensure you are getting in the correct vehicle with the correct driver. As the vehicle is approaching the customized pick-up location, always compare the approaching vehicle with the vehicle information provided in your Uber or Lyft App. Be sure that all the vehicle’s information (make, model, color, and license plate number) match exactly the vehicle picking you up according to what is on your app. Also, when the driver pulls up, asking the driver to state who they are picking up is best. So, you should always ask, “Who are you picking up?” Don’t offer your name. Likewise, always ask the driver to tell you his or her name and ensure it matches the name of the driver you were matched to per the App.
- Sit in the backseat and on the passenger side. his gives you space from the driver and the ability to exit the vehicle if needed. Also, confirm before the ride starts that child safety locks are not engaged and that you can open the rear passenger doors.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. You should use your own GPS to monitor and follow along during your ride to make sure your driver is traveling in the right direction, especially if you are somewhere you are not familiar with.
- Share your location with friends and/or family. There are multiple ways you can do this. First, Uber allows you to share your trip status with others in the app, and the contacts you select will receive a text or push notification that tracks your trip and the estimated arrival time. For Lyft, you can add your trusted contacts to your safety settings. This allows others to see where you are located. Even if you don’t use these features through the Uber and/or Lyft Apps on an iPhone, you can also share your location with others. Alternatively, you can text or call a loved one to notify them of where you are getting in the vehicle, the driver’s information, the vehicle information, your ETA, and your destination. Sending a screenshot of the app can be an easy way to send the information with minimal typing or switching between apps. It does not matter how you do it, but advising others of your whereabouts is important to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.
- Never share your information with the driver. You should keep communications through the App. Do not call or text outside of the App. This keeps your information anonymous. Also, you should not give any personal information to a driver, even if they seem friendly or nice.
- If you are intoxicated or unable to care for yourself, do not ride alone.
- If you feel unsafe, call for help by calling 911. Lyft has a critical response team that is always available. Uber also has a 24/7 response team.
- Rate drivers, write reports, and submit complaints if you have a bad experience with a driver. This is necessary for everyone utilizing rideshare companies to remain safe, so Uber and Lyft are notified of dangerous and unsafe drivers.