Ridesharing services such as Uber have become so popular, especially in major cities. The convenience of requesting an Uber on a smartphone and having a ride within minutes and at a more affordable cost makes ridesharing the perfect solution for short trips in and around cities. However, in recent months, ridesharing safety has become a concern.
Ridesharing Safety Guidelines
Whether you need a quick ride to the airport or a safe way to get home after a night out, ridesharing is helpful to millions of people every day. Unfortunately, there have been recent incidents with both drivers and passengers that have created safety concerns. Here, we share some expert tips to help you get to your destination safely and smoothly.
What You Should Know About Ridesharing Safety
Uber makes millions of trips every day, and the majority of them are safe. But because safety is always an issue for both riders and drivers, ridesharing companies are constantly adding new safety rules and features to their apps. Unfortunately, there were nine fatal physical assaults, 3,045 sexual assaults, and 58 fatalities recorded in 2018, according to an Uber safety report.
What does this mean? There are safety risks with ridesharing services like Uber, but a lot is being done to ensure the safety of both drivers and riders. According to Mirman Lawyers, a New York personal injury law firm, riders are not just concerned about their safety. They are also uneasy about the accidents that happen when using ridesharing services like Uber – get more on this site.
Understanding Ride Sharing Risks
Ridesharing comes with its own unique risks for both riders and drivers.
- Low driver ratings are a silent risk that most riders tend to ignore when requesting ridesharing services. While most ridesharing companies get rid of drivers with notoriously low ratings, that can take a while and requires a consistent number of low ratings before such action is taken. It’s possible to get a low-rated driver that is still operating when requesting an Uber or Lyft.
- One of the biggest risks for riders when using ridesharing services is driver impersonation. It’s easy to find yourself in a car with the wrong driver if you’re not careful. It’s always advisable to check the car make and model, the license plates, and the driver’s photo as provided on the ridesharing app.
- Another concern is the lack of consistent background checks by ridesharing companies. While taxi drivers do submit their fingerprints for an FBI background check in the U.S., that type of regulation isn’t available for companies like Uber and Lyft, which have their own processes.
- Accidents are another risk that riders face when using ridesharing services. In fact, studies have shown that these convenient services are responsible for a 2-3% increase in fatal car accidents. If you’re involved in an accident while on a ride, talk to a personal injury lawyer.
- For ridesharing drivers, road safety is the biggest concern. When you consider that ridesharing drivers spend multiple hours driving every day, you can see why drivers are more exposed to the risk of being involved in a car crash.
- There’s also the risk of dealing with unpredictable passengers. While companies like Uber recently started banning low-rated riders on their app, it’s not clear whether that rule is as strict as it is for drivers. Most drivers will pick up even the lowest-rated passengers to increase their potential earnings.
- Gaps in insurance policies are another risk factor for drivers, especially when they’re involved in an accident. Your personal car insurance policy will not cover you when using your car for commercial purposes like ridesharing if you get involved in an accident. Insurance policies provided by ridesharing companies only cover specific parts of your working shift.
Ridesharing Safety Tips You Should Know
While there are obvious safety risks with ridesharing, millions of passengers still rely on apps like Uber and Lyft to get around every day without facing any problems. Here, we share some smart tips to help you minimize the risk when using ridesharing apps.
- To ensure your safety as a rider, you should always stay indoors whenever you request a ride through the app. If you’re in public, pick a spot where there are many people. Take your time to check the car’s license plate to ensure it matches what’s shown on the app. Ask for verification too when the driver arrives – the name of the person they’re picking and the drop off point. You can also use a PIN verification system.
- When you get into the car, always wear your seatbelt and sit in the back on the passenger side. Don’t sit at the front. It’s a good idea to share your trip details and the estimated time of arrival with your friends or family on the app. Let your driver know that you’re sharing the trip details with someone as a potential deterrence.
- Plan for anything and have situational awareness at all times. If something doesn’t feel right before you get inside the car, don’t take the ride, or if you already did, request to be dropped at the nearest safe place. If the driver doesn’t stop, call 911 immediately.
- Drivers can ensure their safety by also planning for different potential scenarios when carrying passengers. Take, for instance, an incapacitated passenger, a passenger under the influence of drugs, a potentially violent rider, an unruly rideshare group, among others. Know how you’ll handle such situations.
- It’s also wise to check rider ratings on the app before deciding whether to accept a request. Don’t hesitate to pass if the rider’s ratings are low. A rating lower than 4.6 can mean a lot of difference when compared to a 5-star rated rider.
- You should also provide rider ratings whenever you come across any passenger who interferes with your driving, acts poorly, makes the drive uncomfortable, or does anything else contrary to what is expected. Giving ratings helps protect other drivers too.
- Always evaluate the behavior of passengers as it can help you avoid dangerous situations. If you feel that you’re not safe when driving a passenger who is acting out of the ordinary, you should pull over in a populated and safe area and end the ride.
Understanding these ridesharing safety risks and what to do to protect yourself is crucial for both riders and drivers. By taking a few simple precautions, we can ensure safer rides and continue enjoying the convenience that ridesharing services offer every day.