Threatened During a Rideshare

Part 4 of 4 X 10 Rideshare Safety Tips

Ten Options if Threatened During a Rideshare

Lyft safety and Uber Safety Tips

It is important to assess options rather than have preconceived ideas of what you think you would do in a stressful or dangerous situation. Each situation is different and what one person may be able to do, another person may not be able to effectively perform.

Self defense instructors are limited when “advising” others about what they should do if attacked, because a person following someone’s advice could be brutally beaten and require long-term hospitalization, or even be killed. The perceived life-threatening aspects of an assault and personal capabilities compared to an assailant determine a person’s most viable potential response to the threat.

If threatened, there are a number of options you might apply. You should always assess your environment and lifestyle for realistic options, because what might work for one person may not work for another, even in similar circumstances. The Five Principles of Self Defense © should be considered when assessing options against threats toward our personal safety.

Many rideshare assaults involve victims being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are under the influence of drugs or intoxicated, your ability to apply options in self-protection are degraded to the extent of substance in your bloodstream. For example, the greater Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) the less cognitive and physical functioning you have in option selection and option employment.

It is important to consider there will be an assailant reaction for each of these options. One does not know how a predator may respond. You must trust your instinct to survive the situation the best that you can. Trust your intuition for judgement and option selection to access how the dynamics of the ride are threatening before applying any particular option.

1. Escape
If your driver seems creepy or gives you a strange feeling that you feel unsafe, determine if you should end the ride and find a new one through your app. If you ask the driver to stop and he refuses, time your exit at a busy intersection and preferably where there is an open business. Keep your car door unlocked at all times in case you need to leave the car. When in a safer area then request another ride.

If your driver tells you he’s stopping at a location that isn’t your original destination, firmly state that you want to end the trip. Leave the vehicle and wait for a new driver in a safe, public location. Avoid getting out of the vehicle in a high crime area, as you may leave one situation that intersects with another bad situation in a strange place, but this may be the area in which he is intending to take you.

If the driver has the child locks engaged and the electric window buttons locked from the driver’s control panel, then there are other options you might apply.

2. SOS App and 9-1-1.
Immediately engage the SOS rideshare app through your cell phone. Texting to company representatives on the app is going to be easier than texting to provide constant location updates and direction of travel to a 9-1-1 operator.

Now if you got into the wrong rideshare vehicle, pressing the SOS button on your phone app will not assist you much. Your app running on your phone may be tracked, but since you are in the wrong vehicle the rideshare company does not have the correct vehicle information to give to police.

Overall, relying on cell phone is not a good plan, as you may be in a poor mobile phone reception area, battery is low or fails, and the predator may disable your phone or toss it from the vehicle.

Call 9-1-1 and leave the phone open while you give clues to the 9-1-1 operator in the form of conversation to the driver. You might turn the speaker volume down so the driver cannot hear the 9-1-1 operator.

You can provide clues to the 9-1-1 operator, such as, “You are not my Uber or Lyft driver.” “Where are you taking me?” “You are driving on ____ Street and ____, which is not the way to my destination”. After two iterations of these location sentences, the driver will know you are on the phone with police. Even if you are able to text to 9-1-1 operators, identifying and texting where you have passed is difficult when texting to provide this information to police.

Numerous factors determine whether police can find you. If your phone has GPS, the police may be able to vector into your general location. Other factors include available police units and distance from your direction of travel, traffic conditions, the correct description of the vehicle you are riding inside. Even with excellent ques to the 9-1-1 operator, it may be 10 minutes before the police locate you. Predators can quickly subdue you, take your cell phone, shut it off and disable their own cell phone as well.

3. Bizarre Behavior
Bizarre behavior can be surprising and alarming. You may act crazy or psychotic such as talking gibberish, changing personality as if schizophrenic, becoming loud and excited followed by sudden calmness; acting like an animal in the back seat such as growling followed by eating paper and then taking the slimy paper from your mouth and reach toward the driver to share it; belching; or farting. Suddenly scream while using the female ear-piercing tone (the concert scream) can be startling and painful.

One may never know how a predator may react, or whether you are believable. Practice any bizarre behaviors if planning to use acting as an option. He may be shocked and leave you alone or call your bluff. It can be difficult to make a good assessment of the assailant and the situation when under the stress of danger.

4. Vomit inside the Vehicle
Some women have tried to vomit during an attack, but were unsuccessful even by putting a finger deep into the throat to cause the gag reflex for vomiting. Some women may vomit reflexively out of fear.

Vomiting or gagging may repulse a rapist and stop the assault or enrage him to the point of physically lashing out. Overall, many predators are not deterred who demonstrated indifference toward vomiting victims who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He may continue the assault anyways.

Spitting is another option. You can spit at the side of his face, his arms, or the front windshield. If you have a water bottle, sipping water may override the condition of dry mouth when stressed and add saliva fluids.

Urination and defecation are other options, but for rideshare may be less advantageous. If this disgusts him and he pulls over, you are at a disadvantage of getting another rideshare unless you are wearing a dress. Therefore you could be stranded. You can also use urination and defecation as a threat to get him to let you out of the vehicle. If you use this option, report the incident to police, who may assist you in other options to get you home or arrange how you might get out of soiled clothing.

5. Flashlight or Torch
A mini-flashlight or torch may be used to distract, attract attention, or use it as a weapon. Using the strobe option on the light can be aimed at the rear-view mirror, and reflect from the driver side window and windshield. When the driver turns around to tell you to stop, aim the strobe directly into his eyes.

The driver can hit hard from the driver’s seat, which may be his reaction to several of these threat defense options. Using the flashlight as a Yawara stick or kubaton is an option that requires familiarity and practice to be most effective.

A flashlight can be used to get the attention of other drivers. Again, the strobe option can also be used to signal for help from other vehicles, especially if a police vehicle is seen.

6. Pepper Spray
If you want to end your ride, you can discharge your pepper spray canister inside the vehicle toward the driver’s side of the vehicle. You do not need to spray the driver directly. Spraying the inside of the car creates a distraction and discomfort for a rideshare predator. This is likely to infuriate him and may trigger violence as he recognizes oleoresin capsicum (OC) partials will remain in his vehicle after your ride. It may also hamper your breathing and vision, which affects your ability to escape from the vehicle. Assess your reaction to pepper spray as well, because breathing this for too long will affect your ability to break free and run from the vehicle, or fight back if necessary.

If you decide to continue your ride, you can hold a pepper spray canister in your hand readied to accurately aim the canister, but concealed inside your purse. A longer trip with many or sudden turns makes it harder to hold. If a driver grabs you, it will be sudden and there may not be time to reach inside your purse, pull it out, and then manipulate into proper spray position. Canisters are mechanical and may not function properly, or have lower effectiveness due to expiration time.

You can give an ultimatum before releasing OC into the vehicle. If you have gel pepper spray or mace, you must spray the driver in the face because there are less contaminating particles that will not spread discomfort all over the inside of the vehicle.

The driver may roll his window down to dilute the OC inside the vehicle. If he rolls all the windows down, you have a way of opening the door if you can reach over the partially closed rear window in time to open the handle from the outside.

There are numerous chemical spray products, delivery mechanisms, and potency that should be considered before deciding to carry chemical weapons. Understand the pros and cons before relying on this option in personal safety.

7. Vandalism
Threats to vandalize the inside of his vehicle unless he stops to let you out can enrage him triggering violent reactions. The contradictory criminal mind, “How dare you damage my vehicle”, which is irrelevant that he is considering to assault you. Some drivers rent vehicles and pay for the insurance and may not be fazed.

Recommend you use the phone to record your ultimatum that can be used in combination with bizarre behavior. A recording documents the event that can be used to counter his inevitable claims that you were a problem customer-rider.

8. Surrender
Acquiesce is a viable option if you feel might be best for you to survive the assault. There is no guarantee that acquiescence will not follow with more violence. There will be traumatic distress to follow when acquiescing. No one can judge you on the basis of your option selection because you must deal with the situation at hand under the totality of circumstances specific to you. These are not easy decisions.

9. Crash the Car
If he intends to harm you, such as kidnapping followed with sexual assault, consider applying violent self-preserving actions. This is a dangerous tactic for you and others in the path of the vehicle, and should be considered when you fear the future crime scene is more dangerous than crashing the car.

If you are going to force him to crash, you want to do so when he is going at a lower speed and NOT on the highway or other roadways going over 30 mph or 50 kph. A crash can disable the vehicle, attract attention, and give you an opportunity to escape from the driver. However, slower speeds can give the driver more time/distance to recover and apply the brakes, and therefore avoid the crash.

There are techniques that may be used to force a vehicle to crash, but because of the pro criminal litigious environment, these techniques are not posted here and are presented in Model Mugging courses.

10. Fight Back.
Fighting back against rideshare kidnapping is another topic, or using a knife-like weapon, other gismo or gadget to injuriously distract a rideshare rapist for escape. Using any weapon or other objects require practice under stressful conditions similar to what you may experience in a real situation.

The next chance you get, consider sitting in the back of a vehicle that is parked and learn what your kicking range is from the back seat. Depending on vehicle type, leg room used by the driver, and the length or your legs, are all factors in kicking in from inside a vehicle. Model Mugging self defense courses allow you the experience to kick a moving assailant full force in proper technique to learn how to maximize distance, timing, and power that would determine effectiveness against the padded assailant.

Getting out or escaping from the vehicle may not be enough. You should also consider possible follow-up options. Can you escape from the vehicle fast enough? Also consider if you are in desolate area where he may get out and chase after you? Having a full spectrum of options is recommended that are covered in the Model Mugging Basic Self Defense course.

If the driver brandishes and threatens you with a weapon, your options change. Dealing with an armed assailant is covered in the Model Mugging Advance self defense course.

Fighting back from inside of a vehicle can be very effective, but also dangerous if the driver is weighs more and is stronger while in a confined space. Effective Self-defense requires physical training under similarly imposed conditions and a full understanding of the spectrum of options. What you think you may be able to do is very different when actually performing for the first time. Model Mugging Basic self-defense course provides more detailed options about fighting from inside the vehicle.


Safety Summary

Ten Options If Threatened During a Rideshare

If you apply any of these options, you should report the incident immediately to the rideshare company. Also report the incident to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction where it occurred. Determining jurisdiction may be difficult, and if so, report in the jurisdiction where the rideshare was initiated. The dispatched patrol officer may determine that there is not a crime, but you can call the sex crime detail and share your situation with a detective during regular business hours. Your information may assist in linking other cases.

1. Escape
2. SOS App and 9-1-1
3. Bizarre Behavior
4. Flashlight or Torch
5. Pepper spray
6. Vomit inside the vehicle
7. Vandalism
8. Surrender
9. Crash the car
10. Fighting Back

Rideshare 4 x 10 Safety Tips
(Four Part Series)

Rideshare Safety Tips (Overview and Safety Story) before, during, and after a rideshare trip.


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