I’ve always been extra wary when entering a stranger’s car, whether it was my teammate’s dad driving us back from a soccer game when I was 12 or a driver-partner picking me up from the airport at 28. In the ride-share economy that we live in, it’s important to be vigilant and take precautions that will help protect your safety.
One of the things that I appreciate about Uber is that they have responded to recent safety concerns by implementing a variety of safety features and tools to ensure safer rides. These steps are particularly important for young, female, and solo rideshare users, so here’s a quick overview of how you can stay safe when using Uber, especially at nighttime.
Follow the Uber Check Your Ride Steps
Check the license plate – Before entering a vehicle, cross-check the license plate of the car listed in the app with the one that picks you up. While you probably remember to do this if you’re at a busy location with many vehicles, it’s just as important to do so even if it’s the only car around. There have been a handful instances when a vehicle’s license plate doesn’t match what’s in the app, and I always ask the Uber driver-partner before hopping in to explain the discrepancy. If the answer feels even a little bit fishy, go ahead and cancel the ride.
Check the make and model of the car – This one is a bit harder to explain away, so if the make and model of the car that arrives to pick you up is different from the one you’re shown in the app, don’t get in.
Check the driver’s photo – One thing I really like about using Uber is they include driver-partner’s photos so you can make sure the person whose car you’re entering is the right person. Check the driver-partner’s photo and also ask their name before entering the car.
Additional Tips to Stay Safe While Using Uber
Make sure the ride is for you – In addition to checking the license plate, make & model, and confirming the driver-partner’s identity, make sure the ride is actually for you! If the driver-partner doesn’t confirm your own name, ask them who they are picking up.
Use the Share Your Ride feature – I loved when Uber introduced this feature, and immediately added Jonathan as my share your ride contact. If you and a friend are heading home late after a fun night out, share your rides with each other to make sure you both get home safely. If anything goes south, you can always call 911 directly in the Uber app, so make sure you keep it open during the trip. If you need to charge your phone (I get it, I’m also at 4% by the end of the day), most driver-partners offer charging cables, so take advantage of them!
For more safety tips and suggestions, check out uber.com/ride/safety.