How to stay safe driving for Uber
Last week, media discussed a terrible accident – a 16-year old girl stabbed an Uber driver to death. This once again raised concerns about the safety of ridesharing, and particularly the safety of drivers. Turns out that drivers are at risk even if they are not driving at night and in dangerous areas. Check out the list of tips we’ve collected that can protect your life. Some of them are very obvious and are often connected with obeying traffic regulations, but you can never be too safe.
- Buckle up. Although this is a requirement in a lot of states, drivers and passengers often ignore it. However, thousands of lives are saved every year due to seatbelts. When you pick up passengers, don’t hesitate to ask them to buckle up, even if they are sitting in the back – for their own safety and for yours too.
- Avoid street hails. Not only Uber deactivates drivers who pick up riders outside the system, it can also be very dangerous. In the end, everyone knows about Uber or can hail a yellow cab if necessary, so there’s no need to take unnecessary risk.
- Verify the name. When you are approaching your passenger, make sure to check their name first (and ask, don’t suggest) to ensure that you are starting a ride with the right person. This is especially important when you work at night.
- Passengers in the back. When you drive a solo rider or a couple, always encourage them to sit in the back. Front seat passenger provides the biggest threat to the driver and can easily attack you. You can put something on the front seat and put the seat too far to leave minimum leg space, so that passengers are unlikely to sit in the front.
- Install a dash cam. This is a must for all Uber drivers. There are models that can record both the road and the inside of your car. If passengers know that they are being recorded, they are less likely to be rude or aggressive.
- Stay cool. If a rider starts behaving inadequately, don’t argue with them. Speak calmly and confidently. Ask them to stop, and if they don’t, stop the car and terminate the ride.
- Call 911. If a rider attacks you or otherwise provides any threat to you, call 911 as soon as you can. You may need to leave the car to stay safe. Do that – your life is what matters most.
- Provide feedback. Make sure to rate the inadequate passenger with 1 star and provide a detailed description of the situation. Not just drivers with low ratings are banned, passengers do too.
- Cancel the ride. If you have a bad feeling, or see that a passenger looks dangerous or too drunk, trust your guts and cancel the ride instead of putting yourself to danger.
- Put your wallet out of sight. Although rideshare drivers are not often chosen as targets for robbers (they are not paid in cash), you should not carry anything valuable with you. Put your wallet and ID in the glovebox or elsewhere where riders cannot see and access them.
- Stay alert. Don’t drive when you are tired or sleepy. In this case you not only have a higher risk of being involved in an accident, but are also less likely to react to any threat from a rider.
Do you have your own safety tips for drivers? Share them in comments. And make sure to check out our list of tips on how to stay healthy driving for Uber.