The news is filled with Uber nightmare stories, ranging from robberies to sexual assault. And in some cases, an Uber ride mix-up ended with death, like for Samantha Josephson earlier this year.
Most of these dangerous rides stem from people getting into a vehicle that doesn’t actually end up being their Uber ride. Other times, a verified driver can put you into danger through their bad driving or erratic actions.
Sometimes you’re left with no choice but to get an Uber. Keep reading to learn a few Uber safety tips to keep in mind when you do.
1. Check the License Plate
Most people only look for a certain car color or model when they search for their Uber ride. But, there are countless black Ford Focus’ on the roads, and getting into the wrong one could be dangerous.
The only way to truly confirm that you’re getting into the right vehicle is by checking the license plate. Make sure the license plate number listed on the app match up exactly with the vehicle before you get into it.
If a driver tries to convince you that they’re your ride even though the license plate number doesn’t match, this is a huge red flag.
2. Choose a Safe Pick-Up and Drop-Off Spot
Along with verifying your driver, you should always choose a safe pick-up and drop-off spot.
Pick a location that is well-lit and you know will have other people nearby. Avoid the alley behind your home just because it’s convenient. The Uber app will provide common pick-up spots and these are usually great options.
If you’re using Uber in an unfamiliar city, pick a nearby popular venue to be sure of your safety. Instead of choosing your remote Airbnb spot, opt for the restaurant or gas station down the street.
Remember that your safety is worth the extra steps this may involve!
3. Sit in the Backseat
If you’re used to driving with family members or friends, it may seem natural to slide into the front passenger seat. But, when you’re using an Uber, you should always opt for the backseat.
The front seat puts you directly next to the driver. If the driver wishes to cause you harm, you are within arms reach. They could easily inappropriately touch you or grab your belongings as you get out of the vehicle.
When you sit in the backseat, sit in the seat directly behind the driver. This is the seat that makes it harder for the driver to reach or touch you.
4. Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
Whenever you enter a vehicle with someone you don’t know, you should always let a friend or family member know what you’re doing.
Send a quick text or make a phone call to someone you trust. Let them know where you’re getting picked up, where you want to be dropped off, and your estimated arrival time. You can also take a screenshot of the driver’s info to send to them for extra security.
While they might think this ritual is silly or annoying, it’ll be well worth it if something goes wrong. Extend the offer of answering your friend’s text or calls when they take Uber rides as well. That way, you both are staying safe and doing each other a favor.
5. Use the ‘Share Status’ Option
To address Uber safety issues, the company has integrated a “Share Status” option within the app.
Before your ride, you’ll need to choose up to five contacts to notify during your rides. On the Uber app, navigate to “Settings” then choose “Follow My Ride.” Then click on “Select Contacts” and choose up to five people.
Then, when using the Uber service, you can use this feature once a driver accepts your ride. Simply swipe up on the app screen and select “Send Status.” Your contacts will then receive a notification that includes vehicle info, the driver’s first name, and your map location in real-time.
6. Always Wear a Seatbelt
Even though all vehicles go through an uber safety inspection, you never can guarantee you’ll reach your destination without an accident occurring. Your driver could become distracted and run a red light, or another driver on the road might rear-end the vehicle.
Regardless of the situation, you’ll be a little safer if you’re wearing your seatbelt. While it might be convenient to slide into the backseat of an Uber and not put on your seatbelt, think again! Protect your body no matter how short or long the drive is.
There is the chance that a serious accident may occur and not even your seatbelt can protect you. In these situations, your Uber driver is required to carry ride share insurance. This can provide compensation in the event that you’re injured while inside the Uber vehicle.
7. Be Cautious When Entering, Exiting Vehicle
Another safety measure to take when using Uber is to be cautious when you’re exiting and entering the vehicle.
Many times, your Uber driver will try to complete the pick-up and drop-off as quickly as possible to increase their earnings throughout the day. This means that they may pull off to the side of a busy street, which can put you in danger.
You can ask them to pull the vehicle to a different, safer location for you to enter or exit the vehicle. Always get into the vehicle and exit through the door facing the sidewalk. Never open the door into traffic, as you risk getting hit by passing vehicles.
Use these Uber Safety Tips to Travel Safely
Using these Uber safety tips will help you travel safely from location to location.
One additional tip to remember is to always listen to your gut. If something feels off about the driver or situation, don’t get inside the vehicle. If you’re already in the vehicle when something seems wrong, call a friend and explain loudly where you are and what’s happening.
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