As technology advances, so does the demand for conveniences in other areas of life. One social function that has enjoyed an overhaul as a result of technology is local travel. For the individual who either does not own a vehicle and is looking for a way to move from one point to another within a given city, their options have definitely expanded. Gone are the times in which an unprofessional and expensive cab ride was the only option for the person without a vehicle. Rideshare programs, such as Lyft and Uber, have become immensely popular among college students and a significant number of business executives.
Rideshares allow individuals to download an app that allows them to book rides with individuals who are willing to use their own car and gas to offer rides at an agreed upon fee. The entire transaction is handled via the app, so there is no exchange of funds between the driver and the passenger, which removes a significant portion of the motive for criminal interference.
Nevertheless, there is still a certain risk involved with getting into a vehicle with a person with whom there is no familiar connection. Following are a number of tips that will help to make the use of rideshare programs safer. Uber goes to significant lengths to ensure safety for their riders, having established a number of Uber driver requirements that are designed to improve ride safety.
Verify Driver Identity and Vehicle Model Before the Trip
Uber and Lyft have apps that confirm the identity of the driver and the type of car they will be driving — even providing a picture for reference. Uber also provides the license plate number for further verification. It is a good idea to share this information with a family member or friend prior to departing. This type of identification protocol is designed to help prevent a rider from getting into a vehicle with an imposter.
The driver will also have certain information that will allow them to verify the passenger prior to picking them up.
Wait Indoors for the Ride to Arrive
The rideshare app also provides an arrival notification that informs the passenger when their ride has arrived, eliminating the need for the passenger to wait outside for the driver to show up. Waiting outside for a ride can be potentially dangerous, depending on the area that they are waiting in. This can be very helpful when an individual may be waiting for a ride near a night club, bar or a dark or dimly lit area.
Communicate with Friends and Family
In addition to providing the passenger with information about the driver, these mobile apps also allow them to share information about their current location and arrival time with friends and family members. With loved ones being aware of an approximate arrival time, they will be on alert if the passenger does not arrive in a timely manner — having the option of calling the appropriate authorities.
When a passenger shares the location link with a friend or loved one, they will actually be able to track the movement of the car via GPS, so they will know exactly when the passenger arrives, or they will be able to see if the vehicle is venturing off course.
Use Direct and Exact Communication
Many people feel that it might be offensive or rude to speak directly concerning how they feel about their safety; however, the passenger should feel well within their rights to address any concerns about their safety in no uncertain terms, and if the driver does not immediately respond in an acceptable manner, the passenger should request that they stop, and they should immediately contact someone to let them know what is taking place.
Take Notice of the Driver’s Rating When Booking the Trip
Rideshare apps allow riders to rate the drivers and their experience, and these ratings are available to view when the trip is booked. This rating system functions as a type of dichotomous form of protection, discouraging drivers from behaving poorly, and it also allows the passenger to see the ratings of drivers before getting in the car.
Simply put, a person should never get into a vehicle if they feel unsafe in any way, and they should feel well within their rights to verbally address any concerns that might arise during the trip. They should also keep someone they can trust aware of their location throughout the duration of the trip. When these simple steps are followed, using rideshare services can be a reasonably safe experience.
Chad Fonger has been driving for rideshare companies for many years including for services such as Lyft and Uber. He strives towards sharing his experiences and helpful information with his popular comprehensive blog, which goes in-depth about the dynamic and ever-growing rideshare industry and share economy smartphone applications.