Most of us make use of the excellent rideshare services available today. Why wouldn’t you? They are cheap, easy, and convenient to use. However, there have recently been reports of assaults, violent incidents, and people pretending to be drivers in rideshare vehicles. Due to this, all rideshare riders must know how to protect themselves and their drivers.
Before You Get Into The Car
The right preparation can make all the difference in your rideshare. By taking the proper precautions, you can help keep yourself safe.
Learn the driver’s name, car model, and license plate number. One of the main complaints during rideshares is that imposters will pose as the driver. To make sure you don’t get into the wrong car, check that the driver on your app matches the person whose car you are getting into. Make sure the vehicle matches up with the vehicle displayed in your app.
Stand in the street as little as possible. To avoid imposters, order your rideshare car from inside. By limiting the amount of time you spend looking like you're waiting for a rideshare, you will make yourself less vulnerable to foul play.
Check the driver’s profile on the app. All rideshare companies have apps where you can check the profile of the driver and see the ratings and reviews other riders have given them. Before you get into the driver’s vehicle, look them up and make sure they have stellar reviews. If they don’t, cancel your ride and get another driver. Not only will this ensure your safety, but it will help you decide if the driver will be the right fit for you.
Travel with other people. People are generally safer when in larger groups. Traveling with more people statistically lowers your chances of encountering danger. Try to ride with friends during dangerous times like late at night or extremely early in the morning. Most rideshare apps have features where you can carpool with strangers, so if you can’t bring friends, that could also be a great option.
How to Stay Safe During Your Rideshare
Consider taking the following actions to help ensure you stay safe during your rideshare ride.
Do not ride in the front. Many reports of sexual assault, groping, and aggressive touching happen when passengers get into the front seat of rideshare cars. Usually, these passengers are female and are touched by male drivers.
Make sure the driver is on the correct route. Passengers are able to see the designated route through the rideshare apps. When you're in the car, make sure to monitor whether or not you are on the assigned route. If the driver goes off course in a way that makes you uncomfortable or puts you at risk, immediately call 911.
Update your family and friends. On the Uber app, there is a “share status” button. This will immediately send your driver’s name, license, location, and photo to your selected contacts. On Lyft, you can tap the “Send ETA” button to immediately send your route and location to your loved ones. If the rideshare app you are using doesn’t have these features, be sure to text your location to someone you trust and communicate whatever details you have of the car or driver you are with.
Protect your personal information. Do not share your contact information, address, or full name with the driver.
In Case of Emergency
Listen to your intuition. If something terrible is going on, you will probably know it. Take action as soon as possible. Avoiding a potentially dangerous situation is worth any awkwardness or unpleasantness.
If you believe you are in imminent danger, be sure to:
- Call 911
- Attempt to get out of the car and get to a public place filled with people
- Try to attract attention by yelling, blowing a whistle, or otherwise making loud noises
- Alert the police to any actual or suspected crimes
Safety and COVID-19
The CDC still requires the wearing of face masks on planes, buses, trains, taxis, and rideshares. Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus and its variants. Wearing a face mask in a rideshare helps ensure the safety of both you and your driver against COVID-19.
Sitting in the back seat also helps limit the spread of the virus. Per the CDC guidelines, drivers are required to follow strict protocols in cleaning the backseat. The front seat is not the most sanitized part of the car, and sitting there exposes you more closely to your driver.