Kidnapping is a major public safety issue in the United States for adults as well as children, especially with the rise of rideshare platforms across the country. Many people report attempted kidnappings by Uber and Lyft drivers, and individuals posing as these drivers have also attempted to kidnap unsuspecting passengers. If you find yourself in a dangerous kidnapping situation in an Uber or Lyft, follow these tips to stay safe and escape.
#1: Signal to Passing Vehicles That You Need Help
If the kidnapper does not force you into the trunk of the vehicle or you sense that you are in danger in the middle of an Uber or Lyft ride, signal to vehicles that are driving past you that you need help. The best time to do this is during the initial moments of the kidnapping — the longer you wait to signal for help, the more control the kidnapper gains over the situation. Mouth words, wave, and use panicked facial expressions to get the attention of passing drivers.
#2: Learn How to Escape from the Trunk of a Car
During many kidnapping situations, the kidnapper forces the victim into the trunk of his or her car to move the victim from the kidnapping location to where he or she plans on keeping the victim captive. If you find yourself trapped in the trunk, there are ways that you can escape.
- All American passenger vehicles manufactured after 2002 have a trunk release mechanism inside of the car. This release could be a switch, latch, cord, button, or other type of handle, and it may glow in the dark. The release might also be a switch near the driver’s seat; in this case, you may find a cable along the inside of the trunk that you can pull to release the trunk. If you can find this mechanism, try to use it to open the vehicle and escape.
- Some cars have seats that fold down, creating a hole to crawl through between the trunk and the back seat of the vehicle. If your kidnapper leaves the vehicle, you can see if you can access the car through these seats while he or she is gone. Once you’re out of the trunk, you can exit the vehicle.
- In some cars, you can kick out the brake lights from the inside of the trunk. If you can access these, rip the wires out of them and kick or push as hard as you can to remove the light. Stick your hand out of the hole and wave frantically to alert passing cars.
#3: Equip Yourself with Safety Tools Before You Go
Before you ride in an Uber or Lyft, or before you enter any potentially dangerous situation, it is important to equip yourself with self-defense tools beforehand.
- Uber and Lyft both have panic buttons you can access in the app to alert law enforcement to your location. Familiarize yourself with these tools before your ride and let a friend or family know about your ride before you use these platforms.
- Many panic button and location tracking apps are available for your smartphone, allowing you to alert police and emergency contact when you are in a dangerous situation. Download one before you go.
- Keeping a razor blade or another sharp tool with you can help you escape from restraints in a kidnapping situation.
- Pepper spray, personal alarms, whistles, and other self-defense weapons can help you fight back against an attacker.
While these tips may help you escape from a dangerous situation, the aftermath of a kidnapping attempt can have a significant impact on your physical and mental well-being. However, legal pathways toward justice and healing are available to you — you can press criminal charges against your kidnapper, and you may be able to recover compensatory damages for your losses through a lawsuit in civil court.
Your attorney can help you determine which options are best for you, and the steps you need to take to begin pressing charges. Contact your Lyft assault lawyer as soon as possible following the kidnapping attempt to discuss your case and begin strategizing your next steps.