Since rideshare services like Uber and Lyft were first introduced in 2009, many women have seen them as the safer alternative to drunk driving or walking home alone after a night out. And while rideshare services are often a great option for getting where you need to go, it’s important women are practicing the safety basics when using an Uber or Lyft service.
Verify Your Ride
One of the most important safety practices when it comes to Uber and Lyft is verifying that you have the right car before you get in. This means checking that the car’s make and model, license plate number, and driver match the description offered in the rideshare’s app.
Asking the driver, “Who are you here for?” or “Who are you picking up?”, is also an important part of the verification process. Rather than supplying your own name that the driver can just agree to, this question ensures the driver is working within the app and is not just an unknown driver looking to pick up women in their car.
Avoid Solo Trips
If possible, avoid riding in an Uber or Lyft by yourself. Though Uber has long marketed itself as a safe option for solo female travelers, especially at night, a lawsuit filed against Uber in September 2020 argued that these marketing tactics created an inaccurate perception of safety for female riders. This false perception opens the door for increased risk to female passengers and therefore it is still recommended that women use rideshare services in groups when at all possible.
Track Your Trip
Following a series of lawsuits related to rider safety, both Uber and Lyft have updated their apps to include more safety features. These features include in-app sharing tools that allow riders to share their trips with people in their contacts and a direct call button for emergency services in the app.
Calling someone (or even calling your own voicemail) and confirming you are in your Uber and on your way home is another good way to let your driver know that people outside of the car are monitoring your trip. You can also follow the progress of your trip with Google Maps to ensure your driver is taking you home on the correct route.
Trust Your Gut
While trusting your gut may seem like the most obvious piece of advice for personal safety, it can also be the most difficult. A ride share trip can feel intimate and sometimes the idea of being impolite to your driver can deter women from speaking out when things aren’t adding up. However, if something feels off with your driver, their car, your route, or any other variable that makes you uncomfortable, it’s incredibly important to speak up and end the ride. Instruct your rideshare driver to drop you off somewhere well-lit and populated so you can call another driver or other service.
Rideshare services pose a number of risks to riders who are trusting drivers to get them home safely. Understanding the basic safety practices of rideshare services will help ensure that your trips are a safe and reliable transportation option.