Uber and Lyft are two of the world’s most popular ride-hailing services, and they remain a cheap and convenient method for people who are in need of transportation. With that being said, ride-hailing services still pose a number of inherent dangers due to the fact that you’re getting rides from ordinary people and not employees of a company. It is important to employ the following practices to ensure that you remain safe before, during, and after an Uber or Lyft ride.
Identify and Match Your Driver’s Information
It is essential that you make sure you’re getting into the right car whenever you use a ride-sharing service. Any stranger from the road can pose as an Uber or Lyft driver, but thankfully these services provide means for you to identify your driver and their vehicle. Uber displays your driver’s name and photo in-app, as well as their license plate number, car make, model, and color.
In addition, Lyft sometimes requires drivers to place a luminescent device called the “Lyft Amp” on their dashboard to indicate that they are, in fact, a Lyft driver. To avoid deception, the color of the Lyft Amp corresponds to the color of the passenger’s Lyft app, so you know to stay away if the color doesn’t match.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to have the driver confirm your name. The name of passengers should show up in the driver’s app, so it’s a clear warning sign if they are unable to produce your name.
Share Your Trip Information With Family or Friends
Letting your loved ones know where you’re going is perhaps one of the most important ways to stay safe during a ride. Both Uber and Lyft include sharing features that often provide real-time GPS tracking of your journey. If anything unusual occurs, such as your vehicle stopping for a long time or taking an unplanned route, your family and friends will know to either contact you or law enforcement to make sure that everything is okay.
Be Mindful of Shared Rides
Both Uber and Lyft offer shared rides, in which you can pool with other people in return for a reduced fare. While a lower price might seem enticing, you can never be certain that the people you will be sharing a ride with don’t pose a threat. Drivers are required to undergo extensive background checks before they are able to take on passengers, but the same cannot be said for people you might share a ride with. Even though Uber and Lyft have conduct rules for shared rides, other passengers could become rude, belligerent, or even violent, especially if they’re intoxicated. If you feel uncomfortable riding with somebody, don’t hesitate to end your trip early and leave the vehicle at a safe location. Furthermore, if cost is not a problem, you can just avoid sharing rides altogether.
Sit in the Backseat
If possible, always choose to sit in the backseat instead of the passenger seat. Not only will this give you and the driver some much needed personal and safety space, but it also allows you to safely exit the vehicle on either side. When exiting the vehicle, make sure to check for cars, bikes, and other people.
Take Action if You Get in an Accident
Even though ride-sharing services require their drivers to be skilled and responsible, there’s always the chance that you can get into an accident during a ride. The first thing to do after an accident is to make sure that you, the driver(s), and other passengers are fine. If you or anyone else is seriously injured, seek immediate medical attention.
You might also want to recover damages if you were injured in the accident. Since Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors, the process of making an insurance claim is a bit different from a typical road accident. Ride-sharing services are required by law to have $1 million to cover for damages. If you are injured during a ride, then it’s likely you’d get the highest compensation by suing Uber or Lyft directly.