A shocking report released by Uber revealed that more than 3,000 users reported incidents of sexual assault in uber rides in 2018. While this number may represent a small fraction of Uber’s enormous user base, it’s still an alarming statistic for people who depend on the service to travel safely. Uber regularly updates safety tips on its website and features on its app that allow ride-tracking and easy access to 911 to ensure the uber faithful can use their service with ease of mind.
However, there are specific uber guidelines that are your responsibility as a passenger and require shouldering on personally. Here are some to nudge you in the right direction:
- Wait For Your Uber Ride In A Safe Place
Don’t stand in the shadows or dark alleyways, when you’re waiting for your ride. Find a well-lit and public place, until your phone beeps with the notification that your uber driver has arrived.
Out in the open, with your phone in your hand, makes you a prime target for driver impostors. According to Bryant Greening, founder of Legal rideshare, driver impostors will pounce on you like you’re prey if you zone out or let your guard down.
“Once you’re in your Uber ride, your protection is much more difficult,” he said.
- Confirm The Identity Of Your Uber Driver
Okay, this is common knowledge. Don’t just step into the next star that stops in front of you. First, match the car’s make, license plate, and driver’s uber picture with details on the app. Also, instead of introducing yourself first, ask the driver who he’s here for. According to an Uber accident lawyer based in Los Angeles, this precaution is a most important safety step and something you should develop a knack for. To further help things, the University of South Carolina is leading the #WhatsMyName on social media platforms to make sure users identify their drivers before getting in a car.
Bottom line: Never get into an uber without confirming the driver’s identity. Your actual driver will also know where you’re headed.
- Share Your Ride With A Friend
Uber and other ride-hailing platforms also give users the option to send a link to close family and friends to help them track your ride, and make sure you reach your destination safely. If you feel uncomfortable or even a tad-bit suspicious, make it known to the uber driver that you’ve shared this information, prompting him to get his act straight.
Seattle Police Department’s Victims Support Team encourages uber drivers to add the contact information of family and friends in your uber app so they can easily exchange their ride data. You can also call a friend in the presence of the driver and say something along the lines of, “I’m in the car, and will be at your place in no more than 20 minutes,” as an added precaution. These kinds of little steps discard the notion that you’re vulnerable and alone in the driver’s mind.
- Sit In The Back Seat On The Passenger Side
Sitting in the front puts you at somewhat of a disadvantage. The back seat, on the other hand, gives you an expansive view of the driver, the road ahead, and is a natural exit point. As a general precaution, check the door handle as soon as you get in the car to make sure the driver hasn’t engaged any child locks and you can quickly get out when you want to.
- Don’t Ride Drunk
Ride-hailing apps are a great way to get your drunk head back to your home and avoid a possible DUI. But they also make you susceptible to assault and increase the likelihood of getting in the wrong car.
To avoid such mistakes, ask a friend to check your uber app, and ensure your ride fits the description. As a good friend, our responsibility isn’t just limited to putting our drunk buddy in the car, but also staying in touch with them and ensuring they reach home safely.
The Verdict Uber is a great way to travel domestically. But you have to take certain precautionary measures, such as confirming your uber driver’s identity, sharing your ride with a close friend, and making sure you’re not ordering a ride when you’re mentally impaired. These safety measures are your responsibility as an uber user, and you should take some liberties in making them a permanent inclusion in your uber regimen. It’s the least you can do to ensure your safety.