Ridesharing may very well be the future of transportation. In the United States alone, Uber completes over 40 million rides per month. There is no denying the convenience and popularity of ridesharing as a means of getting around. But is it safe? After all, getting in a car with a stranger seems like the exact type of thing your parents taught you not to do as a kid. Follow our guide to rideshare safety, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits of ridesharing without any of the potential risks.
Are Rideshares Safe?
A recent study found that only 30% of riders always felt safe when using ridesharing services. And this sentiment from riders is backed up by Uber’s own crime reporting. In 2019 Uber released its first crime report. Uber reported 3,045 sexual assaults related to rides in the US in 2018, along with nine “fatal physical assaults” and 58 crash-related fatalities.
Given that Uber completes 480 million rides per year, these numbers represent only a small percentage of rides.
Ridesharing also has positive benefits, reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road amongst them. But it is clear that there are risks associated with ridesharing. Especially for women, who make up 48% of riders but only 27% of drivers, and where sexual assaults make up a significant proportion of rideshare related crime.
Despite these risks, ridesharing is only growing. Fortunately, there are several things riders can do to make sure they practice rideshare safety and don’t find themselves a victim of a crime.
Rideshare Safety 101
You can make sure you stay safe when ridesharing by following our simple rideshare safety 101 guide.
Wait for the ride inside
Unlike a taxi, you do not need to be on the street to flag or wait for your ride.
Your driver will be guided to the collection point, and you will be notified when they arrive. Most incidents involving rideshares happen at times of higher crime, typically Friday and Saturday evenings. Waiting for your ride inside keeps you safe until it arrives.
Share Your Trip
When you are taking a rideshare, make sure you share your trip with friends and family. You can simply text someone that you are riding and that they can expect to hear from you when you arrive home. Better yet, jump on the phone while riding. Uber now offers a feature that allows you to share your estimated time of arrival. This lets you share your journey with family and friends on a live map, so they know exactly where you are.
If possible, share rides with friends, especially if you are riding late at night or after having had some drinks. If you do have to ride alone, ride in the back seat.
Check Your Ride
Before you get into any vehicle, do a thorough check of the driver and the car. First of all, never get into a ride you didn’t request via the app. If a driver offers to give you a ride for cash, even if they say they are from a company like Uber or Lyft, do not take that ride. All ridesharing trips must be booked via the ridesharing apps to ensure you are safe.
Ensure the car waiting for you matches the one in your app. Rideshare companies will give you the make and model, along with a photo and the license plate number. Confirm it is the right vehicle. Also, check the driver’s identity by verifying their name and looking to see if they appear to be the person in their profile photo.
If possible, check to see if the door to the car has the child-lock on or off. No rideshare car should have their passenger doors with the child-locks on. If you notice that the child-lock is on, refuse the ride. If you notice during the trip, ask to end the trip immediately.
Check Your Drivers Rating
It is a good practice to only accept rides from drivers with 5-star ratings. After you confirm your ride, you will be given your driver’s rating. If you cancel your ride immediately, you will not be charged for the ride. If your driver does not have a 5-star rating, you should cancel the ride and ask for another. You may need to wait a few minutes to request your next ride.
Monitor Your Ride
While on your journey, you should monitor your ride on the app. This is especially important if you are in a city you are unfamiliar with. The app will show you the route your driver should take you.
If your driver takes a different route or asks to take a new route, ask them to stay on the suggested route unless you know the area and agree with their decision. This can also save you from overpaying for rides.
There Is No Need to Share Personal Information With the Driver
Rideshare companies give their drivers all the information they need to do their job. There is absolutely no need for you to share any personal information with them. You should never share your personal phone number, address, or credit card information with a rider. If they do ask, you should report them immediately.
End the Ride If You Don’t Feel Comfortable
Most importantly, if at any point, you do not feel safe, ask the driver to find a safe spot to pull over and end the ride. You should trust your gut here. If you think that things are not right, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Never stay in a ride you are not feeling safe in just to avoid an awkward conversation or because you have already paid. Most rideshare companies are very good at giving customers credits if drivers do not deliver a high-quality service.
It is crucial to be conscious of your location when asking to be dropped off mid-ride. Make sure you are asking to be left in a safe location where you can get another ride or can walk to safety.
Wear a Seat Belt
Whenever you are on the road, you run the risk of a motor vehicle accident. Wearing a seat belt might just save your life in the event of an accident. If you are in a motor vehicle accident while in a rideshare and are injured, you should consider seeking legal advice regarding personal injury claims.
Rideshare Safety for Women
The rideshare industry is dominated by male drivers. Whilst most rides are safe, women are at greater risk than men and specifically face risks of sexual harassment and assault.
If you follow our rideshare safety 101 guide, you will reduce your risk of sexual assault. However, there is another option for women, women-only rideshare apps. Women only apps such as Shebah, Safr, and DriveHer give women a safe alternative to Uber.
These services are not as well-known as Uber, and you should do your own research and due diligence on their own safety standards (some have less than Uber), but these services do ensure you will be riding with a female driver.
What Are Rideshare Companies Doing to Keep Us Safe?
Rideshare companies like Uber have an obligation to keep their passengers safe. Whilst any form of transport comes with some risk, the nature of ridesharing and contract employment means companies need to be proactive in minimizing risk to their customers.
Uber conducts driver screening and regular compliance checks to protect passengers. Each driver is screened before their first ride. Uber then continuously monitors drivers to identify drivers who might present risks to passengers. Uber also requires all drivers to complete ongoing identity checks and annual compliance checks.
Uber also has community guidelines that cover the conduct of its drivers. It is worth familiarizing yourself with these guidelines, or those for your preferred service, so you know your rights and what drivers can and cannot do.
Uber also records all trips, including the rider, the driver, the pickup location and time, destination, route taken, and drop off time. This makes ridesharing potentially safer than a taxi because your driver is being monitored at all times. So as long as you ensure you get in the right vehicle, your rideshare service is watching over you.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that whilst mostly safe, ridesharing comes with risks. Rideshare services do a reasonable job of protecting their passengers; however, passengers can take control of their safety by following our rideshare safety 101 guide. If you follow these simple steps, you will protect your safety. These practices are especially valuable for women who are at greater risk than men when ridesharing. Contact us today for a free case evaluation