In 2009 the rideshare concept shifted away from waving down traditional taxi services to opening an app and selecting “I’m here…pick me up at this location”. Thanks to the invention of smartphones and the more recent rideshare evolution, we now have a plethora of phone apps to meet our daily transportation needs.
Bye bye taxi services as we knew it…Hello Uber and Lyft Services and more on the way.
BUT, do we, as rideshare customers do enough to protect ourselves on our travels. I suspect the majority of us don’t. I was guilty of this myself until a few years back when I started the Bag of Courage blog. In addition, my personal experiences and those shared by friends and family prompted me to take an active stance regarding safety and being prepared.
So, let’s start with two words.
Well, every time we jump into the most awesome, most convenient, and economical mode of rideshare transportation we put our lives into the hands of a STRANGER. I’m not knocking Uber or Lyft here! My goal to convince you to be more observant of your surroundings. We really spend too much time looking down at our phones rather than what’s coming at us. Consequently, let’s start by taking YOUR SAFETY SERIOUSLY and consider implementing these strategies.
Strategies to Make Your Rideshare Experience Safer
ALWAYS take a picture of the vehicle and driver.
Whether you use Uber, Lyft or another similar service, make this a habit. Taking a picture of the vehicle tells the driver you are serious about your safety and now you have proof of the ride.
Confirm the Driver is as Indicated by the Rideshare App
I always approach the vehicle and ask “who are you here for?” and “your name please”? I never say their name because I want them to confirm the app information.
Confirm the Vehicle is as Indicated by the Rideshare App
My wife and I had a subpar experience with a driver who switched up cars for whatever reason. The vehicle should have been a Toyota Camry and it turned out to be a Dodge Caravan and it was in horrible shape. I was just grateful we made it to our destination because I had my doubts. My initial inclination, after I confirmed the driver’s name, was as to ask about why the different vehicle. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not ASKING. Most rideshare services require vehicles to be newer (less than 10 years old) and in good working condition. These criteria are established for your SAFETY. Don’t do as I did…go with your internal instinct and ask before you ride.
Provide Honest and Accurate Reviews
If it was a good or bad experience, make sure you provide a review to benefit other customers.
Notify Friends/Family of your Realtime Travel Destination
This can be accomplished via texting, a phone call or utilizing many of the free safety apps currently on the market. These apps allow you to notify a group of friends and family of your travel destination. They can track you real-time on their phones. Also, you give them the “I’m OKAY” notice once you arrive safely.
If you want to learn more about these safety apps, click here to be redirected to an article I posted in September 2017.
Uber and Lyft Carpool Option – Is it a good idea?
I’m not a huge fan of this option. But that’s just my preference. I’ve talked to many who have used this service option and have had a positive experience. Depending on your particular situation, this mode of transportation may be ideal. However, before diving into the carpool option, consider the following:
- You’re adding one more stranger to the mix (driver and passenger(s))
- Time of day
- Your Gender
- Are you Traveling Alone?
- Do you want the passenger to know where you work or live?
Carry Personal Safety Tools
These products are readily available online or local businesses. All of which you should consider ideal for your particular travel scenario. At a minimum, you should always have a safety whistle, pepper spray or pepper gel, and have safety apps loaded on your phone. All of these help you to lower the risk and be prepared when ridesharing.
Personally, I use two of these safety tools at all times.
My daughter and created the Bag of Courage concept to educate and empower college students to have the necessary tools to be brave and prepared. The reality of it is that not only do our college students need to make the shift, but all individuals need to habitually elevate safety awareness. The real question is…What’s in your Bag of Courage? Is it passion, safety tools, self-defense training, bravery or knowledge? Join the movement to make a difference in your life.
Here’s your opportunity join the movement to “be brave be prepared”. Visit the Bag of Courage web site for additional knowledge, download a free COLLEGE SAFETY CHECKLIST, read and comment on the blog posts and PLEASE share the posts with your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends.