Guest Post Written By Rachel Abrams, Managing Partner of the law firm of Levin Simes Abrams
With the holidays here, many of us rely on Rideshare (such as Uber or Lyft) companies to safely get us to and from holiday parties and other festivities. We want a safe ride home after we have had a few drinks. Isn’t that why we use Rideshare cars in the first place? For a safe ride home? Well, with the growing number of sexual assaults at the hands of Rideshare drivers, here are some safety tips to help protect yourself from predator-drivers:
Order the ride yourself: If you have ordered the ride yourself, you can monitor the route and take advantage of safety features on some of the Rideshare companies’ apps in case of emergencies.
Travel with a buddy – safety in numbers: When at all possible, try and travel with a companion, especially if it is late at night.
Pay attention to the vehicle: Check out the make and model of the car that pulls up and compare the license plate number to the one listed on the app. Also, look at the driver photo and name. Make sure it matches what’s listed in the app.
Exercise caution: Uber rides can only be requested through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride. Ask for the driver “who are you here to pick up?” and to identify you by name and to name your destination. Make sure the make, model and license plate of the vehicle match what’s in the app. Make sure the driver is the one in the profile photo.
Drink in moderation: Although we should be able to rely on a safe ride home after a night out, the fact is, many of these are crimes of opportunity- predators taking advantage of intoxicated, vulnerable women. Try to drink within your limits and stay in control.
Use common sense before you get in: If something doesn’t look or feel right, do not get in. Cancel the ride and report the concern. Isn’t your safety worth the $5 cancellation fee?
Sit in the back seat: If you’re riding alone, this ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.
If you can, check to see if the child lock is on before you close the car door. The mechanism is often located on the edge of the rear doors. If it’s left on, you have to wait for the driver to let you out of the vehicle.
Let a friend know: While en route, tap “Share status” in the app to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the Uber app.
Don’t share too much info: There’s no need to share your phone number or other contact information with your driver. If a rider and driver need to contact each other, the Rideshare apps automatically anonymize both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy.
Trust your instincts: Use your best judgment when riding. And if you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately. You can do that right within the mobile Uber app, using the emergency button.
Rate your driver and give feedback: Your feedback helps make the experience better for everyone. There’s a 24/7 global support team that reviews feedback and will follow up with appropriate action on any reports of conduct that violate our community guidelines.