Concerned about Ridesharing?
It’s possible that the people of New York State have been among the most cautious in the nation when it comes to ridesharing services. Our region had an uphill battle to gain access to Uber and Lyft, and Rochester waited much longer than other American cities to get in on this technology-driven transportation trend. Now that ridesharing is ubiquitous throughout New York, recent headlines have raised concerns about safety. What’s a would-be ride-sharer to do?
The convenience, affordability, and relative safety of ridesharing are undeniable – so much so that grabbing rides on demand has become the default transportation option for some. Though negative events are high-profile, they’re also quite rare, and companies like Uber and Lyft are working to make them even less likely. If you’re curious about ridesharing or count yourself among those for whom it’s become part of a regular routine, the best thing you can do is take steps to ensure your own safety. Here are some simple actions you can take to reduce your risk and enhance your ridesharing experience.
Plan ahead. Read up on ridesharing safety tips (like these!) and features before you actually need to utilize the convenience of the service.
Stay inside. If at all possible, request your ride while indoors and wait until the app shows the driver has arrived before you step outside. If you have no choice but to wait outside, do so with a buddy or minimize your time spent alone, looking at your cell phone.
Trust your intuition. Before you order a ride, check your driver’s details and reviews. Once you’ve made your request, look at the identifying information. If you feel uncomfortable with the driver’s rating or anything else, cancel and request a different ride.
Get the right ride. Before you get in a car, verify that the car make and model, license plate number, driver photo, and driver name all match the details shown in the app. Finally, ask the driver who they’re picking up. If it’s your driver, he or she will know your name.
Share your status. Always let a friend or family member know where you’re going and when. If you use Uber, tap “Share status” to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location. If you request a ride through Lyft, hit the “Send ETA” icon to text your trip details to someone you trust.
Take a back seat. When you’re traveling alone, sitting in the back ensures you multiple options for a safe exit should you need one. It also gives you much-needed personal space.
Protect your personal info. Ridesharing apps give drivers all the information they need. There’s no reason to share your phone number or any other personal details with your driver.
Buckle up. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries related to car accidents.
Be a good passenger. Follow the community guidelines of whichever ridesharing service you’re using. Be kind and respectful, act appropriately, and use common courtesy.
Leave reviews. Ride-sharing platforms rely on user reports to identify issues. If you have a problematic or concerning experience, don’t hesitate to report via the app.
Call for help. If you ever feel that you’re in an emergency situation while ridesharing, call 911. If you can, get out of and away from the vehicle and into the nearest public place. Report all crimes, whether actual, attempted, or suspected, to the police.