Millions of Americans can easily order car rides on Uber, Lyft, or other ride-sharing apps after just a few taps on their phone. But, as with many things in life, there are ways to increase you and your loved ones safety while using the services many depend on so much. To help you do so, here are six safety tips for using ride-sharing services that everyone should know and share with their loved ones.
Many are on high alert after hearing the tragic news of a South Carolina college student who was reportedly kidnapped and murdered after entering a car she mistook for an Uber, according to ABC News. Romper's request from Uber was not immediately returned, but the company lists a number of safety tips for its customers.
Utilizing such safety tips is important, as a poll conducted by Pew Research Center found that an increasing number of Americans are using the ride-hailing phone apps. Numbers released in January show that 36 percent of adults say they have used a ride-sharing service, a significant increase from the 15 percent that said they had used the services in late 2015. According to the same poll, just over half of Americans between ages 18 and 29 (51 percent) have used an Uber, Lyft, or similar service.
With the increased dependency on ride-sharing, it is important to practice safe habits when traveling with relative strangers. So here are just a few tips that you can use before you order your next ride.
1. Request Your Ride Indoors
As Uber advises on its website, you can minimize time alone outside by requesting your ride inside and waiting indoors until your app shows that the driver has arrived.
Confirm Car & Driver Details Beforehand
Before getting in the car, according to CNN, confirm that the license plate number, driver photo, and driver name all match the information listed on the app. And instead of volunteering your name to the driver, ask, “Who is this ride for?” to confirm that the driver is, in fact, your assigned ride.
Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Uber notes on its site that there is no need to share your phone number or other contact information with your driver. According to the site’s safety tips, the ride-sharing app makes both the rider and driver’s phone numbers anonymous. Tips and payments can be made directly through the phone app, so you never have to share your credit card information either.
Map Your Ride
You can confirm the route of your driver using your own GPS navigation, especially if you are unfamiliar with the route your driver is taking.
Choose Your Seat Wisely
Riding in the back seat instead of the front allows more personal space, as CBS News reported, and it also ensures you can exit the car on either side, avoiding any oncoming traffic when leaving the car.
But, as some Twitter users have pointed out, sitting in the front seat can ensure that you can exit regardless of child lock activation.
Share Your Ride Details With A Friend
Both Lyft and Uber allow you to share your ride details while you are en route. Simply click the “share status” button in the app to share you driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a family member or friend. This will allow them to track your trip and see your ETA — even if they don’t have the app.
Next time you get into your Uber or Lyft, make sure to use these safety tips to maximize your safety while traveling. Just a few simple steps could leave you feeling much more at ease when getting into your next ride.