Uber and Lyft ride share apps are super convenient and most of the time, safe. But, unfortunately sometimes they aren’t. It is crucial to use common sense and our Uber Smarts to stay safe.
12 SAFETY TIPS For Riding In Uber and Lyft
PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY…ESPECIALLY WITH YOUR COLLEGE-AGE KIDS!
1. ALWAYS CHECK THE LICENSE PLATE AND THE DRIVER PHOTO – before getting into the car.
Sounds pretty basic, but I am actually quite shocked at how many people don’t bother to make sure the license plate and photo match what’s listed on the app on their phone when they request the car. It’s not enough to just look for the Uber or Lyft logo sticker on the car windshield. And if you’ve been drinking… this is especially important to remember!!
2. WHEN THE CAR PULLS UP, LET THE DRIVER PROVE THEY’RE THE CORRECT PERSON!
In other words, when the car pulls up, you should NEVER say: “Are you here for Pattie?” The driver should know who they’re picking up and ask you: “Are you Pattie?”
** This is an innocent but dangerous mistake that can lead one to inadvertently get into a fake Uber car.
3. DON’T GET INTO JUST ANY CAR with an Uber/Lyft logo…
It can be very obvious when you’re alone, waiting outside for your car to arrive. If there is anyone else who shows up and says they can drive you, don’t get in! This actually happened to me once when I was waiting outside a restaurant for my ride to arrive. Another driver came by with the “logo” and told me it would be “quicker” for them to take me since my driver was stuck in traffic!
4. USE THE Uber/Lyft app feature called “Share my Status” or “Share my ETA” .
This allows you to share your ride details in real time with another person such as a friend, spouse, etc.
5. SCREENSHOT THE LICENSE PLATE AND DRIVER PHOTO of who is coming, and forward that to a friend/parent/etc. When the app shows you who will be arriving, it’s super quick & easy to screen shot!
** My daughter and her friends would do this particularly when they first started using Uber.
It allowed me to immediately know who she was riding with.
6. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. I call it your “UH-OH Feeling.” Don’t be afraid to change your mind & not get in!
Both my daughter and I have refused to get into an Uber car when something just didn’t seem right. For my daughter, the driver who showed up was very angry because of some road closures nearby and started yelling at her when he arrived. She refused to get in.
For me, I once had an Uber driver who reeked of alcohol. As soon as I got in the car, I smelled it. I immediately said, “Ooops, I forgot something”, hopped out of the car and called for a new ride. If your driver seems inebriated, if the car reeks of marijuana… get out ASAP.
7. Have a password or “SAFE CODE” that you can text to someone if you’re feeling uncomfortable or in trouble. For example, my daughter and I will text each other the letter “X” if something is wrong. It’s a fast way to signal that you need help. This is why tip #8 (below) is so important!!
8. Be CELL PHONE SAVVY: Be sure to enable either GPS, location tracker, or “Find my friends” feature on your phone. My daughter, my husband, and even my friends have enabled the “find friends” feature on our iPhones, which means we can check or track where each other’s location/ cell phone.
9. KEEP YOUR CELL PHONE IN YOUR HAND DURING THE RIDE.
This super important!! It won’t do you any good if you’re fishing around in your purse or backpack trying to find it in an emergency!
10. DON’T SHARE TOO MUCH PERSONAL INFO DURING THE RIDE
IF the driver starts asking if you have a boyfriend/husband/partner, questions if you live alone, what your work/school schedule is like – DON’T SHARE THAT INFO! There’s no need to give someone all the intimate details of your life, schedule, etc. THIS IS ALSO IMPORTANT IF YOU’RE USING UBER POOL AND ANOTHER PASSENGER STARTS ASKING LOTS OF QUESTIONS.
11. BE LIQUOR SMART (in other words don’t get “smashed!!”)
Many people take Uber so that they can have that extra glass of wine and not worry about driving. But college kids and young people have to be especially smart not to get so drunk or incapacitated, that they’re unable to take care of themselves. You don’t want to fall asleep or pass out during the ride.
That’s often when something bad happens… we’ve all heard the stories in the news about the “drunk passenger” who was unable to fend off the driver’s advances or ended up being taken to a different location.
12. CHECK THE DRIVER’S RATING – if you’re not comfortable because they have a low rating, cancel the ride and call for another. Any driver who has a rating lower than 4.5 stars is not for me!