Rideshare Safety Tips | Travel With Peace Of Mind
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become so popular that almost everyone uses them from time to time. Even if you have a car in a city where traffic is minimal, travelers still rely on low-cost rideshare services to help them get where they’re going. While services like Uber and Lyft can help you save money over traditional taxi services, there are some unique dangers that come with getting into a stranger’s car.
The top rideshare services vet their drivers, but you can’t ever be too safe. Use these simple tips to ensure a safe ride whether you’re going one mile or 100 miles.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Using rideshare services in your own area means you’ll likely be familiar with how safe a neighborhood is and the best route to get to your destination. When you’re traveling away from home it’s not always so easy. Still, you need to be aware of your surroundings to help you stay safe when using ridesharing services. Here are a few tips to help:
- Keep your eyes up, not on your phone in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
- Pay special attention to people in your general vicinity.
- Keep to yourself and don’t engage with potentially problematic individuals.
- Look for a safe place to retreat to if a situation turns sour. An open business is an ideal option.
Check Your Driver‘s Rating
Driver ratings are one of the safeguards that rideshare services offer to their users. While low ratings aren’t always a sign of danger, they’re a good indicator that you may not have a good experience with a driver.
Check a driver’s rating as soon as your ride is confirmed. You can cancel immediately without incurring a fee if the driver’s rating is too low for your liking.
Stay Safe While You Wait
Waiting outside for a rideshare driver is a courteous thing to do if you’re in a safe, familiar area. When you’re not though, waiting inside is often a better choice. If you want to make sure your driver doesn’t have to wait for you, look for a spot with high visibility or near a window.
Remember that most rideshare apps send a notification that your driver is approaching. That way you can reduce the amount of time you spend waiting outside to just a minute or two before they arrive.
Make Verbal Confirmation Before Entering The Vehicle
As rideshare services like Uber and Lyft become more popular, consumers are seeing more and more vehicles with rideshare tags in the window. More drivers mean faster pickup times, but it also means a higher chance of getting into the wrong car.
Alleviating this issue is simple. Just check the driver’s license plate – which will be given to you in the app – and then make sure they’re the right person via verbal confirmation before you get in the vehicle. This two-step process means you’ll always get in the car that was meant to pick you up.
Share Your Movements
Tracking applications where your friends and family can see where you are have become very popular. Turn yours on before getting into a rideshare car so your friends and family have the ability to track you just in case something goes wrong.
You’ll also be able to let people you’re going to visit know how close you are without a constant string of texts. A lot of people also find it quite fun to track their friends and see what they’re up to throughout the day!
Use Your Own GPS Navigation
Rideshare drivers use GPS-based navigation services to get you where you’re going while avoiding traffic. They can also find the quickest route, helping them pick up more fares so they can earn more during a shift. Just because a driver is using GPS doesn’t mean that you can’t use your own too though.
Get your phone out and use the navigation service you prefer to ensure that you’re on the right track. This is particularly important when you’re away from home and not familiar with the city you’re in.
Using a rideshare service at home can make your commute easier and stress-free. It can also make going out with friends and family, especially if you’re consuming alcohol, a much safer bet. Rideshare services can even save you money in busy areas since you won’t have to pay for high parking rates once you arrive.
Rideshare services, for the most part, do an excellent job of vetting their drivers so you have a safe experience. Unfortunately, it truly is a few bad apples that spoil the cart here. While you can’t control every part of the rideshare experience, you can do your part to stay safe. Use these simple tips the next time you call a service like Lyft or Uber to give you a ride at home or while you’re traveling.
How Does A Rideshare App Work?
Well now you’ve learned some solid tips for traveling safely using a ridesharing service, so let’s take a look at a quick rundown on how the basic ridesharing apps work. Remember, this is not specific to one particular ridesharing app. This is just to show you how easy the process is with some tips to help you along the way
- Download your preferred ridesharing app to your iPhone or Android device.
- Set Up Account – enter your personal info and credit card information.
- Enter Your Promo Code – often times you will get an offer like “First Ride Free” or a credit of $20 to get you started. It varies between services and cities. *
- Request Your Ride – By default, the app will generally use your location and it’s right most of the time. But one time I was at the airport and when I let the app decide where I was, it actually picked the municipal airport next door. Needless to say, my driver couldn’t find me. So always double check your location and to be safe, type in the location and/or address manually.
- Tracking Your Driver – not only do you get an ETA from the driver but you can see a map showing where their car is located. Keep an eye on this because every once in a while they will get lost and you may need to reach out to assist them. GPS is not an exact science.
- Pay For Your Ride – the best part of ridesharing is that you pay in advance and you won’t have to be worried about paying more than you expected. However, you are quoted for the addresses you entered for your pick up and destination. If you decide once you get picked up that you need to change the address or extend it, you will more than likely be charged more. And from experience, I once had a driver tell me he could only take me to my original destination and I would have to order a new driver for the extended trip I added on. Weird, I know, and this is an issue that they are trying to correct with the system.
- Tipping & Rating- not all ridesharing services originally allowed tipping, now you’re allowed to tip and of course, rating and writing a review. I always recommend tipping because you really want the best drivers to be compensated for their service and you never know when you might have them as your driver for a future ride. And you’re helping out the ridesharing services build a better and safer driving community.
*Note: Restrictions apply to promo codes and vary by city (these are subject to change and set by the ridesharing services).
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