Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | May 19, 2022 | Car Accidents
Even though millions of people use Uber or Lyft in New York, the two most popular ridesharing services, people still worry about whether these taxi alternatives are safe.
Though tens of millions of successful rides are completed by Uber and Lyft drivers each year, it quickly makes the news when someone gets hurt. According to Uber’s 2019 safety report, there were 3,045 sexual assaults, 58 fatalities, and nine fatal physical assaults in that year.
In response, Uber created new safety programs and initiated the Industry Sharing Safety Program, where rideshare companies share information about drivers released from their contracts due to an arrest or assault.
Both ride-sharing services initiated several new safety protocols, including a PIN verification for Uber and other features available through the app.
However, even with the safety features included in the rideshare apps, riders still should take several precautions when using Lyft or Uber.
What Are the Risks of Ridesharing?
Accidents can happen no matter what kind of vehicle you’re traveling in, but rideshare services contain specific risks.
There are several risks for Uber and Lyft riders:
- Getting into the wrong car by mistake
- Being involved in a vehicle collision
- Traveling with low-rated drivers who haven’t been removed from the service yet
Drivers, too, need to use precautions when working for a rideshare company, such as looking out for:
- Road safety and collisions
- Intoxicated or unpredictable passengers, especially at night
- Low-rated passengers who may be a riskier fare
Drivers also have to worry about insurance gaps or whether their insurance with Uber or Lyft will cover them in case of an accident.
What Are Some Tips for Safer Rideshare Use?
Whether you’re the passenger or the driver, consider your safety first and decline to complete the ride if you feel uncomfortable with a driver or a fare.
Verify the Vehicle
When your ride arrives, verify the car’s specs with the details provided in the app. Check the make and model, as well as the license plate number. This is especially important in larger cities or busier venues where many cars look alike.
Check the Driver’s Profile
When you accept a ride, the driver’s photo and rating (a scale of 1-5) appear. When the driver arrives, check their photo against the person driving the car and ensure that it’s not someone else using the driver’s profile. If something about their appearance looks different or makes you feel unsafe, don’t be afraid to cancel the ride.
Verify You’re the Passenger
Ask the driver who they are supposed to pick up — never state your name first. This helps reduce confusion for riders and indicates that it’s the correct driver for your transport.
Check-in With a Friend
Ensure that you have someone to confirm your safe arrival at your destination if you’re traveling alone. Arrange a buddy system, or call a family member or even a co-worker when you’ve reached your endpoint.
Use Your Seat Belt
Uber and Lyft vehicles are required to have at least five working seat belts. Make sure that you use yours. If it’s not working, sit somewhere else — or cancel the ride and inform the rideshare company of the malfunctioning seat belt.
Trust Your Gut
It’s okay to say something if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If your driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, don’t get in the car and contact the rideshare company.
Or, if the driver begins making inappropriate comments or sexual overtures, speak up, or ask to be let out of the car — just make sure you’re somewhere safe when you do. If you’re in danger, contact the police by calling 911 or using the emergency alert through your app.
Use These Tips to Stay Safe When Taking an Uber or Lyft
Although there are many safety features for Uber and Lyft ridesharing, sometimes a predator can slip through the cracks. Follow these safety tips to help protect yourself when using a rideshare service.