Rideshare is great… until it isn’t.
Who didn’t shiver with familiar dread when we heard the news last year of college girls being targeted and murdered by fake Uber drivers? It’s unnerving, but necessary: Getting into a stranger’s car for a ride home, to the airport or to a friend’s house. But thanks to apps–the ride share’s app and others you can use independently– you can ensure Uber safety.
Say my name, tell me yours, let’s be friends.
Let’s face it, we live in a crazy world and we need to know who we’re dealing with everywhere we go. When taking an Uber or Lyft, these are only some of the precautions that need to be part of your process. Here are some safety tips for using a rideshare service.
Slow down and Pay Attention. It Can Save Your Life
The best safety tips are really those two things especially paying attention. With the recent happenings in the news, it’s clear that people need to slow down and pay attention. Before taking the next Uber or Lyft, know what to expect when ordering and waiting for the ride. Everything you need with all of the important details will appear on the app screen. Be sure to exercise good judgment. If something feels off, trust your gut. Don’t get into the car and cancel the ride. You can order a new one. Be aware of your surroundings. If you feel unsafe, call for help.
Safety Tips: for Using Uber or Lyft
1. Request your ride inside. This way you aren’t waiting outside alone and you can tell when your ride is safely at the designated meeting point. You can customize the pick-up location, so you’ll know if your driver has the correct information.
2. Check your ride. Does the car make and model match with the one on your app? Is it the same license plate listed? Does the driver look like the profile photo? If all of these seem to check out, go to step 3. (For Lyft users, this information will pop up on your screen when the vehicle arrives. It also has a reminder pointing out for you to “check the license plate.”)
3. Have the driver confirm your name. Uber suggests to exchange names and ask, “Who are you here to pick up?” This way you aren’t giving out your name unless they confirm your name. After confirming your name, ask for their name.
4. Safety first! Sit in the backseat to maintain a comfortable distance away and always wear a seatbelt.
5. Share trip details with loved ones. You can do this before, during, and after. This ensures that someone else is aware of where you’re going and if any lack of communication raises any red flags.
Did you know that you can share your trip status in the app? This will provide your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location. Your loved ones can also stay on top of your trip progress and ETA since they’ll receive texts or push notifications. This feature is awesome! You can get real-time updates and not wonder if the rider arrived safely.
6. Only message or call the driver via the app. This anonymizes your information between you and the driver. This way they can’t send any strange texts or calls after the ride. This is great, especially as a woman traveling alone! Privacy is everything.
7. In an emergency, call 911 via the app. Follow your intuition; if something isn’t right or you’re in a dangerous situation, call 911 by using the emergency button in the app. This not only calls 911, but it also provides real-time location and trip details that you can share with the dispatcher. Efficiency and location are key in these situations. You want to make sure someone can help before it gets out of hand. In some cities and counties, the information is already provided to the dispatcher. Take a look at their safety page to see if your area is one of those cities or counties. Lyft also has in-app emergency features, so either way, these companies have ways for you to reach out during a situation.
8. Don’t ride alone if you’re not well. Have a friend ride with you, wait until you feel better or if you’re really ill, call 911 in stead of Uber. Many of the victims of ride share fraud in the news were inebriated or incapacitated and not able to fight back. Make sure you’re capable of calling 911 if you need to.
9. Give feedback. Provide information when rating your trip. If you ever feel there is a safety issue, report it. There is a 24/7 response team that will follow-up, but make sure you call 911 first if you are threatened.
Other things to keep in mind:
- You must be 18+ to use Uber and Lyft. Please do not send these car services for your children.
- Women have been targeted in reported crimes. This includes human trafficking, rape, and murder. Consider carrying protection such as pepper spray (where it is legal) or personal alarms for additional safety.
- College students have also been a target. Please teach your college-age students Lyft and Uber safety when using these apps as well.
For additional Lyft and Uber safety precautions, you can use these 3 apps:
- Noonlight. This app allows you to open it up and hold your thumb on the safe button displayed. Once you arrive, you can release it and enter your pin. If you don’t feel safe, simply remove your thumb and don’t enter the pin. This will trigger like a silent alarm and it will notify 911 to rush to your location. It uses GPS to find you, which is especially important if there is a dangerous situation. It’s free and available on for Android and iOS. There is also a premium version for $30/year.
- bSafe. This is great for anyone using rideshare. You can designate a group of loved ones as “guardians”, who can watch your GPS location and track you on a map. It’s perfect for keeping your family or favored contacts in the loop of your whereabouts. If feeling unsafe, press and trigger the SOS button. There are also features where video and audio can be recorded and shared with the group of guardians. Setting up the timer alarm is helpful, especially if the rider doesn’t respond to you with a confirmation of arrival within the agreed-upon timeframe. If this rider is one to not typically respond and let you know they’ve arrived safely, there are also message alerts that are sent to the guardians upon safe arrival. This is downloadable for Android and iOS for free.
- Find My Friends. iOS Users: You can either use iCloud to track the location of your device, or you can download Find My Friends. This works similarly, but you can follow along in real-time. What’s great is that you can share access to your location to select contacts and set up alerts, so you don’t have to pester the other person with constant update calls or texts. It’s also a life-saving app, where if you’re in danger, you can alert your loved ones that you need assistance. Only downside: there isn’t an immediate 911 button within the app. However, you can call from the lock screen to make emergency calls.
Be prepared for your next ride with Uber, Lyft or other rideshares with these apps and keep in constant communication with loved ones if things go awry. The key is to be aware and know what to do. Safe commuting out there, and don’t forget to share your referral codes with friends and family to earn $ towards future rides 😉