Ridesharing (Uber/Lyft) Safety
Given that ridesharing is now available in some areas of Canada, like Vancouver, for the first time, we were asked by a person who follows us on social media about some safety considerations we would recommend. So here are some of our thoughts:
Before using a drive sharing app for the first time, familiarize yourself with all the functions of the app.
Before you get into an Uber or Lyft, make sure your phone has enough of a charge to reach your destination. You don’t want to be stranded in an emergency with a dead phone.
Check the driver’s rating; Bad reviews? Find another driver.
Ensure license plate, make, model and colour of the vehicle match the app’s description. If they don’t match, find another driver.
Make sure the picture of the driver matches their picture on the app. If they don’t match, find another driver.
Ask the driver, “Who are you here for?” If they don’t provide your name, don’t get in.
Don’t get into the front passenger seat; rather, ride in the back seat directly behind the driver. This offers you the best protection specific to the driver attempting to physically aggress you.
Before you get into the backseat, check to ensure that the child locks are not engaged, thus allowing you to easily exit the back seat without someone, like the driver, having to do it from the outside only. After you get into the backseat, immediately open the door and if you can’t open it (if it’s before the trip starts) let the driver know that you dropped a personal item outside of the car to get the driver to unlock the door. Once out, thank the driver and find another ride.
Use the “Follow My Ride” (UBER) https://help.uber.com/driving-and-delivering/article/share-your-trips-with-family-and-friends--?nodeId=9890b65b-e204-46a4-8bae-fa444faed74c and the “SEND ETA” (Lyft) https://help.lyft.com/hc/en-us/articles/115013081988-How-to-share-route-info feature on the ride-sharing app and let the driver know you are using it.
If you don’t want to use the “Follow My Ride” or the “Send ETA” function, consider using a premium paid app like IWITNESS https://www.iwitness.com which can also be utilized in other areas of your life from a safety perspective. Again, let the driver know you are audio and video recording the trip. Another option is to call or video chat with a friend or family member during your trip so that you are in constant communication with someone throughout the entire trip.
Follow along with your own GPS to ensure that the driver does not veer from the fastest route to get to your destination.
Know how to quickly access your emergency 911 feature on your phone. Proper pre-planning prevents poor performance during an emergency.
Don’t share personal information with the driver. If you are concerned about the driver knowing where you live, have them pick up or drop off a short distance from your home. Both Uber and Lyft also allow you to anonymize your phone number when you call or message your driver through the app.
If possible, don’t ride alone. There is safety in numbers.
Trust your instincts. If something just doesn’t seem right, don’t get in.
Digital Food for Thought
The White Hatter Team