If you are looking for an affordable, accessible way to travel around San Diego and the surrounding areas, you might choose to use a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft. From the convenience of your smartphone, you can page a ride to your location in minutes. While these apps may pose a lot of benefits to you, they also come with serious safety risks. Take caution when using a rideshare service by following these tips.
#1: Always Confirm Your Ride Before You Get In
It can be difficult to identify if an approaching vehicle is the Uber or Lyft you are waiting for, especially if it is nighttime. You do not want to accidentally climb into a stranger’s vehicle or a fake Uber or Lyft.
To protect yourself against these risks, always ask the driver “who are you here to pick up?” The driver should reply with your name. If he or she does not confirm your name, do not get in the vehicle. Uber and Lyft also include the vehicle’s basic information when you request a ride, including the license plate number and make, model, and color of the car. Always double-check the license plate number before you get into the car.
#2: Share Your Trip Information with Trusted Contacts
Both Uber and Lyft have features within the app to share your trip with someone you trust. You should utilize these features whenever possible to stay safe. The app will share your location, ETA, and the details of your ride with your contact, including the driver’s name, plate number, and photo. By sharing your information, your contact can keep track of where you are and ensure that you arrive safely.
#3: Follow Along on the Map If You Can
When you request an Uber or Lyft ride, the app tracks your ride’s progress on an in-app map. The map will show you the route that the driver will likely follow to reach your destination and you can see where you are using GPS. While you are riding, follow your ride’s progress along with the map. That way, you can detect early on if your driver is going in a different direction than you need him or her to, or know if the driver suddenly cancels your ride mid-trip.
#4: Request Your Ride Indoors
If you are requesting an Uber or Lyft when it is dark outside, you want to limit the amount of time that you spend waiting for your ride. Waiting for an Uber or Lyft alone in the dark can put you at risk. To minimize the amount of time you spend waiting for your ride, request the ride inside and go out to meet your driver when he or she is within a couple of minutes of your location.
#5: Rate and Review Your Drivers
Your Uber or Lyft driver’s rating is an indication of how he or she has made other riders feel in the past. If the driver has a rating lower than four stars, you should be on guard. Do not be afraid to cancel your ride if you do not feel comfortable about an approaching driver. To help other riders, always give feedback about your ride after it ends. Uber and Lyft often take action if you give the driver a low rating.
#6: Listen to Your Intuition
If you have a bad feeling about an Uber or Lyft driver, do not be afraid to cancel the ride or ask to get out of the vehicle early. If your Uber or Lyft driver makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, call 911 or use the emergency button in the Uber app to alert the authorities. There are other panic button apps, such Noonlight, that can act as an emergency 911 button if you are using Lyft instead of Uber.
Most rideshare experiences are safe and uneventful, but serious safety risks are present. Many riders report instances of assault, harassment, or even getting into a fake Uber or Lyft while using these services. If you are the victim of violence or injury while using a rideshare service, contact an Uber and Lyft sexual assault attorney as soon as possible.