Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies make transportation incredibly convenient. In hundreds of cities and dozens of countries in the world, you can whip out your phone, tap an app a few times, and have a driver in front of you in minutes. Before jumping in the car, however, you should make sure you’re safe. If you use ridesharing services, you need to keep the following safety basics in mind.
1. Always Verify the Driver
Before getting into a ridesharing vehicle, make sure to verify the details. Ask the driver their name and make sure they know your name. Also, double check other details, such as the make and model of the vehicle, the license plate number, and the color of the Uber sticker if you chose a special color in the app.
Tragically, jumping in the wrong car can be disastrous. When a South Carolina college student mistook another vehicle for her Uber, the driver trapped her by locking the doors; authorities found her dead body in a field just hours after she had ordered the Uber.
2. Sit in the Backseat
Unless you have a big group and you have to sit in the front seat, always try to sit in the backseat of your ridesharing vehicle. This gives both you and the driver some personal space and protects you from potential driver misconduct.
3. Monitor the Route
Ridesharing apps tell drivers the most effective way to reach your destination. To ensure the driver is following the right path, look at the route in your app and notice where you’re going while in the vehicle. If you believe the driver is taking you astray, speak up, ask to leave the vehicle, or contact the authorities.
4. Don’t Use Cash
Ridesharing apps are set up so that you can easily pay for the ride and give the driver a tip, right in the app. This feature also protects you from the dangers of paying with cash. Don’t offer to pay the driver in cash, even for the tip. This prevents the driver or anyone around the vehicle from seeing your cash and potentially trying to steal it.
5. Tell a Friend Where You Are
Before going anywhere with a stranger, you should always let a friend or relative know where you are, and if they don’t hear from you by a certain time, they should contact the authorities. Both Uber and Lyft simplify this process for passengers, and for your safety, you should take advantage of these features in the ridesharing apps.
On Uber, you should swipe up on the app screen and tap Send Status. Then, follow the prompts to share your trip details with friends or family — they don’t need to use the app to receive the information. Uber texts or emails the information to them, and they receive your driver’s name, vehicle details, and information about the trip.
If you’re taking a Lyft, select Share Route from the menu on the upper righthand corner of your screen. Then, decide who you want to alert. You can save contacts or add them manually every time. Then, Lyft sends the recipient a text with a link to your details.
6. Always Use the App
In some cases, you may really like a driver, and they may offer to give you their personal details. For instance, they may say, “Why don’t you contact me directly. I can give you rides at a reduced rate.” Although that can be tempting, you should never follow through on an offer like this.
Instead, you should always use the app. If you don’t use the app, you are not covered by the company’s liability plans. If you get injured in an accident, you may not have any recourse to make a claim, and you likely may not get enough (or any) coverage under the driver’s personal policy. Additionally, when you don’t use the app, you forgo the safety of its safety and tracking features.
7. Exit Safely
At the conclusion of a safe ride, continue to think about safety while you exit the vehicle. Don’t get out into moving traffic. If you feel unsafe for any reason, ask the driver to take you to a different drop off point.
8. Trust Your Instincts
Finally, you should always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, don’t get into the vehicle, terminate the ride early, contact the authorities, or take whatever steps you need to get to safety.
Have you been in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver? Were you the passenger when a ridesharing vehicle got into an accident? Have you lost a loved one to a ridesharing accident? If so, you deserve justice and compensation for your damages.
To find out how the right legal counsel can help after a ridesharing accident, contact us today. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we work closely with our clients to ensure they get the personalized care and attention they need after a ridesharing accident; we offer a no-cost case evaluation.