Though the convenience and efficiency of ridesharing cannot be denied, many passengers have had less than pleasant, even dangerous, rides sponsored by Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare services. If you are concerned about the safety of this ingenious, almost instantaneous, type of personal transportation, you probably should be. In terms of daily travel, it’s much “better to be safe than sorry.” Being wary at the outset is certainly preferable to suffering an injury.
Of course, in spite of taking precautions, it is still possible to be hurt in a ridesharing accident. If this happens, make certain you receive knowledgeable legal representation from a ridesharing accident attorney with a strong track record of successful negotiation and litigation since rideshare accidents involving personal injury are notoriously complicated.
Risks to Rideshare Passengers
In order to protect yourself, it is essential to understand the possible dangers inherent in the rideshare experience. By the very nature of the service, you will be getting into a car with a stranger. While most drivers are pleasant, honest individuals, there is always the possibility that you are becoming a passenger in a car driven by someone who is:
- An inexperienced or poor driver
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Angry, bigoted, or abusive
- A sexual predator
You should be aware that, while rideshare companies do minimal vetting of their drivers, they do not interview them and screen them less thoroughly than taxi companies. A disturbing 2018 investigation by CNN found that over 100 Uber drivers in the preceding four years had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers, and over 30 had been convicted.
For these reasons, it is crucial to keep your wits about you and, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, to evaluate the driver’s manner and behavior before entering the vehicle. If something about the driver makes you uncomfortable, don’t take the ride.
Ridesharing Safety Tips: The Best Way To Protect Yourself Is To Be Proactive
The following safety tips will help make sure you have a safe ridesharing experience:
- Verify the make and model of the car picking you up
- Make sure the driver knows your name and where you are going
(many people have been harmed by getting into the wrong car)
- Check the driver’s ratings and read feedback information before confirming the trip
- Keep your personal information confidential
- Make sure to wear your seatbelt
- Take normal traffic precautions: watch for other cars, bicycles, pedestrians as you enter and exit the vehicle
- Never give the driver your credit card or cash
- Whenever possible, ride with someone else
- Make use of “share trip status” or “share route” features while riding
- Let the rideshare driver know that your ride is being tracked
- Speak up if your driver is distracted, speeding, or otherwise endangering you
- It is generally safer to sit in the back seat and make sure you have a view of the driver
Be wary of a driver who tries to coerce you to sit in a particular part of the car, asks personal questions, speeds or drives recklessly. If you become uncomfortable during the ride, ask to be let off at a nearby location because you are not feeling well or have had a change in plans.
Even Responsible Rideshare Drivers Have Accidents
If, in spite of being proactive about your own safety, and in spite of having a careful rideshare driver at the wheel, you are involved in a ridesharing accident in which you are injured, it is crucial that you contact a sharp personal injury attorney with in-depth knowledge of rideshare law. Because this field is relatively new, it is evolving at quite a clip, so it’s important to have an attorney who keeps current with rideshare law if you are to receive all the compensation you are entitled to.
The Power of Giving Feedback
Your ace in the hole is that rideshare companies take your feedback very seriously. Your driver’s livelihood depends on your positive review. Also, of course, your driver will want to receive a generous tip. These facts give you some leverage. Use your clout to reward polite behavior and safe driving and to help get unpleasant or dangerous drivers off the road.