How to Stay Safe When Taking a Rideshare Service 

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Earlier this winter, HG got wind of quite a few ridesharing incidents that made us feel a bit uneasy about using trusted apps to get from one place to the next. While apps like Uber and Lyft have made travel quick, easy, and convenient, there are some risks that are associated with traveling in the car of a complete stranger. We have rounded up a few tips help with safety while using rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, as well as interviewed Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante to weigh in on safety tips. Read on to learn more about how to maintain security and vigilance when using these apps. 

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide the best practices when using any kind of car service or ride-hailing transportation. All riders should practice safety precautions based on their own level of comfort.

rideshare safety tips

Wait in a Safe Location

Most of the time, we call for a ride upon exiting the previous location. Try to order a car while still inside. If staying indoors is not an option, be sure to stay in a safe, well-lit location with people around if possible. 

Opt Not to Use An Exact Home or Work Address

It seems silly, but riders should never put their home addresses into the app. In order to maintain an extra level of personal security, input an address next to or near the final destination. That way, the driver does not have access to more personal information. 

Confirm the Driver’s Name, Car, AND License Plate

It’s easy to get into the wrong car, especially with the number of cars in our cities. Hoboken Police Chief, Ken Ferrante stresses, “before getting into any rideshare service vehicle, ensure that the license plate is that which is on your app.” In addition, make sure to confirm the driver’s name prior to entering. Asking for their name as well as asking them to tell you your name — rather than giving your own name is more secure. If any of these do not match, walk away from the car and call for another ride. It’s easy to dispute a charge, especially when safety is compromised.

See More: The Best Apps for Living in a City {Hoboken, JC, and Beyond}

Ride in Groups

Ah yes, the good ol’ buddy system. Well, that long-standing safety tip our parents taught us also stretches into adulthood. Traveling in groups is, without a doubt, safer — there is strength in numbers. Chief Ferrante agrees. “If traveling late at night or while out drinking, please move around with a friend,” he said. If the opportunity is there, try to ride with other people. If not, see the next tip.

Send Updates

Since riding in groups is not always possible, riders have the option to share their location within the app or on their phones. Both Uber and Lyft allow riders to “Share My Trip” {Uber} or “Send ETA” {Lyft} to family and friends. iPhones and other mobile devices allow users to share their exact location as well.  

Less is More

Some riders enjoy a mutually comfortable conversation with the driver while others prefer to ride in peace and quiet. This is, of course, a personal choice, as sometimes convos with drivers can be quite fun and even helpful. Personal information is personal for a reason; share only what you are comfortable with and do not feel obligated to share any information that does not make you feel safe. 

Be a Good Passenger

It goes without saying that a little kindness will go a long way. Make your momma proud. Please, thank you, and mutual respect between driver and passenger will make the ride more enjoyable for both parties. 

Choose a Seat Wisely

Speaking of buckling up, it is important to choose the right seat in the car. Sitting in the front opens riders up to less secure travel. The driver is in close proximity and there is only one door to exit from. In the back seat, there are two doors, should a rider need to leave the car {in the rare case of an accident or an unsafe situation}. “Never sit in the front of a ride share service vehicle,” explained Chief Ferrante. Sitting in the back seat, diagonal from the driver, while wearing a seatbelt is the best place to be.

Enter and Exit the Car Safely

Location. Location. Location. It is one of the most forgotten safety tips but is super important while using a rideshare app. While entering or leaving a car, be aware of your surroundings. Ask the driver to pull over in a secure location where it is safe to open the door. 

Trust Your Instincts 

If a situation feels unsafe, it probably is. Trust your gut. It’s easy to make up an excuse to avoid getting into a car, or being able to quickly get out. If you’re feeling unsafe while traveling, Uber and Lyft both provide security measures that allow riders to call for help from the app.

Read More: 12 Ways to Stay Safe in a City

Extra Tips

Additionally, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are working to ensure safety. According to Lyft.com, all drivers go through a very rigorous and ongoing screening and training process. 

“Drivers are required to submit their licenses’ SSN, insurance, amongst other documents. In addition to that, they require in-depth background checks that include a social security number trace, a nationwide criminal search, a county court records search, a federal criminal search, as well as a US Department of Justice 50 state sex offender registry search.,” according to Lyft’s website.  Those with any indication of a violation are not permitted to drive for Lyft. As of October 2019, Lyft also requires drivers to participate in a Community Safety Education program to help eliminate sexual violence.

As for Uber, drivers are also required to pass an ongoing multi-step driver screening, which includes a detailed check into driving violations, impaired driving, violent crimes, amongst others. Uber also provides an in-app Emergency Button that connects riders directly to 911. Ride Check Technology helps to detect an accident or if a ride has gone off course. According to Uber.com, safety is their no.1 goal and share that 99.9% of rides are taken without any safety or security breach but stress their commitment to making it 100% is their priority. 

Rideshare apps are one of the many luxuries in life and having the ability to travel safely is of the utmost importance. Riders and drivers should feel comfortable and safe while sharing a space, so if for any reason you don’t, listen to your gut and follow whatever precautions are necessary to feel safe. 

Do you have any extra tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Hoboken homeowner and lover of all things local, Danielle made her home in the Mile Square City nearly six years ago. Danielle is a second grade teacher by day; after hours, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up a a new recipe or grabbing a bite to eat with her husband and friends. Danielle is the try-er and buyer of all things beauty and loves finding a good deal. Shopping on Washington, interior decorating, and riding her Peloton are just a few of Danielle's favorite things. Oh, and did we mention her undying love for the New York Yankees?


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