Uber is Sketchy: Here's How to Stay Safe During Your Next Ride

Lyft and Uber are AMAZING. They are the perfect service for making it to and from a party safely or for supplementing public transit when you’re in a hurry (or just don’t feel like walking in the rain). As a student who doesn’t have a vehicle for most of the year, I don’t know how I’d make it without these two apps. However, even though the two apps provide an amazing service, that doesn’t change the fact that you are still getting into a car with a stranger.

Technically, both Uber and Lyft conduct background checks on prospective drivers. To be hired, drivers must not have been charged with operating under the influence, sexual assault, or violent crimes. However, there are ways around these checks. For example, if a person uses a false identity, the background check would be useless and would still let the driver enroll in the ridesharing program.

In the past year alone, there have been several incidents with Uber and Lyft drivers which have included the following:

Needless to say, ridesharing can get pretty sketchy. Although these incidents are rare, there is still a chance you could have an issue with your driver. Keep these tips in mind to reduce the sketch level and make it to your destination safely.


1. Check the Driver's Rating and Ask Who They’re Picking Up

If a driver has had problems with passengers in the past, they're likely to have bad reviews. Check to see if the driver who is scheduled to pick you up has bad reviews. If the driver does, then you should cancel the Uber or Lyft and request a new driver ASAP.  Additionally, make sure you ask your driver who they are picking up to confirm they are actually your driver. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s better to avoid terrible drivers and make sure you’re getting into the right car.


2. Pick Your Seat Wisely

You have a choice on this one. Sitting in the back seat gives you distance from the driver and the ability to exit the vehicle on both sides if an incident occurs. While sitting in the front seat lets you avoid child lock features which can prevent your escape and gives you access to the vehicle controls, like the emergency brake, horn, wheel, etc., if anything goes wrong. Decide what to do when your driver gets there and choose what feels most comfortable for you.


3. Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Even when in the back seat, all riders should fasten their seatbelts. This is especially helpful when you need to secure your one drunk friend who won’t sit still and is HYPED after the party.


4. Follow Along With Your Own Map or the App

Check Google Maps to make sure you’re heading in the right direction, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. You can always make sure your driver is following the pre-set route in your Uber or Lyft app too.


5. Travel in Groups

There is always safety in numbers. Whenever possible, ride with friends or family members to your destination. If you are traveling alone and feel uncomfortable, phone a friend to talk to during the ride or refer to #6 below.


6. Use the Tracking Feature

Both Uber and Lyft have tracking features within their apps that allows your friends or family members to track your location and see when you’ll arrive at your destination. Send the tracking to your roomie or BFF if you’re feeling unsure of the driver.


7. Trust Your Gut

If you sense that something isn't right, then don't get into the car. If you are already in the car, then simply ask to be dropped off at the nearest safe location. If the driver refuses, call 911 immediately and explain the situation and your current location. Do whatever you need to do to get out of that situation as soon as possible.


So there you have it, ride safe everyone!

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