Whether you are traveling, commuting to work, or just need a ride home after a night on the town, ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft are an inexpensive way to get around. While the vast majority of rideshare drivers are good people, there has been some recent media attention centered on dangerous Uber drivers whose behavior has ranged from uncomfortable to assault, particularly with female passengers. These behaviors can range from asking inappropriate questions to, sadly, sexual assault. Here are some steps you can take to engage in ridesharing safety measures.
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Paying attention to what’s around you goes a very long way. The main rideshare services, Uber and Lyft, will provide you with your driver’s name, his/her car’s make, model and license plate number. When your ride arrives, ensure the car matches the description. It’s also a good idea to ask your driver to confirm your name before getting in. The driver always has the name of the passenger, so if you’re given the wrong name or told, “I don’t know,” don’t get in the car. You will never go wrong trusting your instincts. If something feels off to you, even if all the information you have adds up, you don’t have to take the ride.
Sharing destination, ETA and driver information with a friend or family member can help them keep tabs on you and your driver during your trip, which can come in handy with the number of driver sexual assault cases that have accrued over the last few years.
The Uber and Lyft apps have a Share My Status feature that will provide others with the driver’s name and photo as well as his or her license plate number. If your contact doesn’t have an app, send a text with a screenshot of the driver’s information. You can also share the ride with someone you know, so you’re not alone in the car, or make your destination a public place near your home to keep your address concealed.
Take Precautionary Measures
Most rideshare drivers are amiable, but friendliness shouldn’t override common sense. When riding an Uber or Lyft, for example, ridesharing safety common sense suggests that you always sit in the back seat. This gives you more room to get out if you need to exit the vehicle quickly. Once in the car, keep distractions, like texting or watching videos, to a minimum, so you can pay attention to both the driver and the route he or she is taking. Keep the conversation on an impersonal level, and don’t be afraid to speak up if the chat takes a turn that you don’t like.
If you do have a bad experience, immediately notify the rideshare service and share the details. Rideshare services want their passengers to feel safe at all times and will investigate customer complaints, often forbidding the driver in question to continue giving rides until the investigation is completed.
With rideshare services now an everyday convenience for many people, it never hurts to look after your own safety. While unfortunate incidents do take place, they are by no means common. Take care of yourself, and enjoy your ride.
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