Ridesharing Services: Simple Tips for Drivers and Passengers
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can be a great way for drivers to earn extra cash, and for passengers to get a ride whenever they want. However, the increasing popularity of ridesharing means that both drivers and passengers may sometimes forget that they should still take some basic safety precautions. Here’s what you need to know to help you have a pleasant ridesharing experience.
Tips for Ridesharing Drivers
Park your vehicle carefully. To help avoid getting hit or being hit by another car when you stop to pick up a passenger, always take time to park in a safe spot, suggests SherpaShare. Your passenger may have to walk a few extra steps, but it might be worth it. Also, be careful that you don’t park over a crosswalk or in any spot that could endanger pedestrians, says SherpaShare.
Assess passengers before they get in your car. Drivers have the option of declining rides to passengers if they feel their safety might be compromised. This may sometimes be a smart choice, even if doing so results in a slight ding to your “star” (customer satisfaction) ratings, says U.S. News & World Report. It’s always important to weigh your own personal safety against your money-making aspirations, says the news organization.
Carefully choose your hours and neighborhoods. One of the prime benefits of ridesharing work is that drivers typically get to choose their work hours and locations. If you prefer, you can opt to avoid driving during the late-night hours when crime may be more likely, suggests Ride Share Academy. Drivers can also use crime-mapping apps and websites that track safety statistics for various neighborhoods. If you’re not comfortable with the app’s reports on certain neighborhoods, you can wait for ride requests in other areas.
Install a dash cam. Just seeing that you have a dashboard camera may discourage some passengers from acting unruly. And in case you do end up with a ridesharing experience that turns into a safety incident or lawsuit, your dash cam will have footage of the incident, according to The Ride Share Guy.
Tips for Ridesharing Passengers
Be sure you’re getting in the correct car. That may sound obvious, but if you’re in a large group of people leaving a concert, for instance, you may see multiple ridesharing cars lined up one after another, notes Angie’s List. It’s easier than you think to get into the wrong car — or even into a car fraudulently posing as a rideshare vehicle — and not realize your mistake until you’re out in traffic. Be sure to confirm the car model, color, license plate number and driver’s picture on your ridesharing app before entering the vehicle.
Leave the ride early. If you feel uncomfortable about the driver or the ride, tell the driver to let you out early, before you reach your destination, suggests NerdWallet. Pick a safe spot, then call a friend, cab, or another rideshare driver. It may also a good idea to have a fully-charged cell phone and a small amount of cash or your credit card with you during a ride, too, suggests NerdWallet.
Don’t give drivers cash. Uber and Lyft both charge your credit card for your ride. Part of the appeal of these services is the convenience, which typically means there’s no reason for a driver to ask you for cash, says Moneycrashers.com. If they do, say no and strongly consider declining the ride or getting out of the car early, suggests Angie’s List. Also, be sure to report the driver to the ridesharing company.
Ride in the back. Usually, drivers for ridesharing companies undergo a criminal background check. The two largest companies (Lyft and Uber) explain on their websites that all drivers must pass a background check. However, there’s always a chance that you could ride with a driver who displays inappropriate behavior. Angie’s List suggests that passengers always ride in the back of the car as a precaution — unless, of course, you have too many passengers to fit in the back. Another good practice: Exit on the curb side, not the traffic side, of the car.
If you use some common sense, and keep these safety tips in mind, the ridesharing arrangement can be a good option for both drivers and passengers.