Rideshare Safety Before Your Trip
Part 1 of 4 x 10 Rideshare Safety Tips
Ten Pre-Rideshare Safety Preparations
Lyft safety and Uber Safety Tips
Getting into a stranger’s vehicle has potential for danger and preparing for pay per ride safety before the ride reduces some of the inherent risk.
1. Know and never drink beyond your alcohol limits.
A woman with a weight of 120 to 160 pounds who drinks two average sized alcoholic beverages in a short time will lose significant cognitive and physical capabilities. She loses her better judgment and physical skills to get out of danger or protect herself. Add two more drinks, and she becomes ineffective in decision making and applying self-defense skills. The absorption rate of a 150 pound woman to process 3 drinks of alcohol could take 5 to 8 hours.
It is safer to rideshare a ride with a friend, especially after an evening of drinking. However, riding with an equally drunk friend means that two passengers are vulnerable to kidnapping and rape. Make sure that you both ride together to the same destination. Don’t let one passenger depart the car, and the latter continues the ride making her more vulnerable. Do not rideshare if you are too drunk to defend yourself or are unable to match the phone number, license plate and driver’s picture. Instead, call a friend or family member to pick you up.
2. Learn the SOS emergency feature on your rideshare app.
SOS is a distress call requesting emergency help. During a distress call, rideshare companies should provide relevant details to local law enforcement. This includes the driver’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, vehicle license number and trip details, such as route, pick-up and drop-off locations and your identifying information. Technology should not be used to abdicate your safety and judgment to artificial intelligence systems and devices. Technology can fail.
Distress features will not assist if you are in a rideshare impersonator’s vehicle or do not have cell phone reception because local law enforcement cannot receive needed details.
3. Never share your personal information.
Uploading a profile picture on your account allows a predatory driver to develop notions about you prior to pick-up. You can use initials or a nick name rather than your real name on your rideshare profile to make trip coordination.
4. Ensure your cell phone is charged before your trip.
It is easy to forget to recharge the battery, so consider carrying an external charger. Do not count on rideshare drivers to provide a charging cord for your use. Plugging it into the driver’s dash, or console limits your options to call for assistance or initiate a SOS call, because it easy for the driver to yank the phone from the USB port or from your hand. Most rideshare safety measures revolve around cell phone use, therefore when without it your options are reduced.
5. Use the call forwarding feature provided by the rideshare company.
This prevents your true cell phone number from being shared with your driver. However, if your name and phone number are part of your recording or the auto message repeats your number, the driver will be able to obtain this information if he calls and you do not answer, so adjust your phone message accordingly
6. Don’t list your personal address of your pickup location and destination.
List the street corner or business next to your home or work. Your address may stay in the driver’s account for several weeks or he can screen save it in his phone for future predation. If there are other carpool passengers, they also cannot learn your exact address. If possible, wait at a nearby business for easy arrangement for pickup and drop off. This tactic provides a small layer of insulation from someone with stalking tendencies.
7. Stay in touch with your family and friends.
A “share your location” feature allows you to share your trip information with your real time location. The advice of taking a picture of the driver and his license plate and send it to a friend or family member may be a deterrence tactic, but taking a picture of the driver may also make an innocent driver uncomfortable and who may give you a poor rating. Verifying the ride and proactively telling others where you are going should be sufficient. Keep in mind, that when you reach out to someone as a psychological safety net, they may get distracted with their own life and fail to pay attention to the location app. When they realize that you are in trouble or you did not check in, they can initiate a call to police.
Sex crimes are the most complex of all crimes. Identifying a rideshare driver as a deterrent to rape should not be relied upon someone else for your safety. Your safety is your responsibility. Knowing how to realistically protect yourself is key to your personal safety.
8. Don’t lean inside the vehicle to verifying your ride with the driver.
You can be grabbed and pulled inside the vehicle by the driver. You can also be grabbed and fondled by pedestrians walking by.
9. Do not volunteer your name to the driver when the ride arrives. A rideshare impersonator can nod their head and say, “Yes”. Instead ask the driver his name to verify your ride for the trip, “Who are you here to pick up?” A driver wants to ensure their safety from being scammed out of a fair or harmed. Verify the license plate, give your initials, and ask for their initials. You might also quickly confirm the last 4 of the credit card or trip ticket number.
10. Verify that you are getting into the correct vehicle.
Match the driver information and vehicle license plate with trip information received on your rideshare mobile app. Rideshare predators can print an illegitimate rideshare company logo to place on their windshield. Others may have been terminated by the company or stolen an Uber placard or Lyft dash light from someone else’s vehicle. Numerous rideshare rapes are committed by impersonators because their victims did not verify the correct vehicle before getting inside. The impersonator can ask what her route of preference and confirm her destination to disguise his impersonation as he drives away. If you get inside the wrong vehicle, options dealing with threatening situations will be covered in Part 4.
10 Pre-Rideshare Safety Tips
- Know and never drink beyond your alcohol limits.
- Learn the SOS emergency feature on your rideshare app.
- Never share your personal information.
- Ensure your cell phone is charged before your trip.
- Use the call forwarding feature provided by the rideshare company.
- Don’t list your personal address of your pickup location and destination.
- Stay in touch with your family and friends.
- Don’t lean inside the vehicle to verifying your ride with the driver.
- Do not volunteer your name to the driver when the ride arrives.
- Verify that you are getting into the correct vehicle.
Rideshare 4 x 10 Safety Tips
(Four Part Series)
Rideshare Safety Tips (Overview and Safety Story) before, during, and after a rideshare trip.
- 1 X 10 Pre-Rideshare Safety Preparations
- 2 X 10 Rideshare Safety Preparations During Trip
- 3 X 10 Post Rideshare Safety Precautions
- 4 X 10 Rideshare Options if Threatened
Other Crime prevention.
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