We’ve recently been hearing stories coming out about Uber/Lyft drivers across the U.S. – and we even have our own scary story right here in Springfield, Missouri. This makes people start to question just how safe they are when using these services – from a rider as well as a driver standpoint.
Safety for people using Uber or Lyft services:
- Only walk out of the place you’re at when your ride has arrived – you should get a notification when they have gotten there. This cuts down the potential of predators that have been waiting for someone to come out to take advantage of you by making you think they are your Uber.
- Remember the type of car your Uber/Lyft is arriving in. This should be obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: Don’t get in a car that is obviously not the vehicle listed for your ride.
- Ask for your driver’s name before getting in the car. Specifically, don’t ask something like, “Are you Terry?” Instead, ask them “What’s your name?” That way you can double check that the name coincides with your confirmation email or text from Uber/Lyft.
- Pay attention to where they are driving you. If they start to stray from regular streets to the outskirts of town, call the police.
- Don’t let them take you anywhere other than your destination. Predators might try to persuade you to go somewhere else, or that they need to stop somewhere on the way to your final destination. If they try to do this, threaten to call the police – this should throw up red flags to you of their legitimacy.
- Know that your Uber should not already have a passenger in the car when you get inside. This is also against Uber policy, so if there is someone else in the car when you get inside besides the driver, you should refuse to get in. (Just think: The more people there are, the easier it is to overpower you.)
- Tell someone else where you are going, and that you are using Uber/Lyft. Be sure to let them know when you arrive safely home so they don’t worry for too long!
Safety for people driving for Uber or Lyft:
- If you feel uncomfortable driving during the night, then don’t! The “safest” time for driving strangers around town would be during the day – from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
- Stay away from “sketchy” areas around town and know what rides you are accepting. Always remember that you don’t have to accept a ride!
- Be sure to keep your car maintenance up-to-date. No one wants to break down in the middle of a trip with passengers in the car – especially if your passengers aren’t the most…neighborly.
- Don’t be afraid to cancel. If something just doesn’t feel right about a request, cancel the trip. While you might get in trouble from Uber or Lyft for cancelling, obviously your safety is the most important factor here.
- Just like how passengers might let their friends know that they are taking an Uber, drivers should also let someone know what they are doing. When you can, shoot your friend a text letting them know that everything is going well!
All in all, trust in your instincts. If a situation doesn’t feel right, whether you’re a driver or a passenger, then don’t follow through with it. Pay attention to warning signs and alert your friends and family of your destination and approximate arrival time so that someone else can check on you. And remember: Most people aren’t bad and aren’t out to hurt you – so enjoy the ride!