Companies like Uber, Lyft, and others have changed the game when it comes to the gig economy, the taxi industry, and, of course, just getting around in general. For most of us passengers, these ridesharing companies offer an increase in convenience, especially in California where public transport is not entirely dependable.
Besides the convenience issue, rideshare companies also offer us all a safe alternative to driving while under the influence. When all you need is an app, there’s no excuse to be made for having to drive drunk. And for anyone out feeling unsafe or stranded, a ride home is easy to find.
The only question becomes, how safe are the rideshares themselves? Who are you really getting into the car with, and what assurances do you have for your safety? Before anyone heard of Lyft, the idea of hitchhiking, or getting in a stranger’s car, was already widely regarded as an extremely risky thing to do.
We have all heard about the terrifying murder of Samantha Josephson, known as the “fake Uber” case. The young woman got into a car, imagining it was her ride, but the man behind the wheel was not her driver. Her body was later found and the man was convicted for her murder.
While this tragedy is obviously the worst-case scenario when it comes to rideshare use, it does raise a good point about safety. Let’s look at some tips for staying secure when you hail a rideshare car.
- Double-check the car
The first thing people look for, when they are alerted about their driver arriving, is to take a look at the license plate. Make sure to read the entire number, you don’t want to be mistaken because of two cars with similar plates. Check the photo and the name of your driver. Ask them their name and do not be the first person who mentions it. This way they can not pretend to be the person you are looking for. Also, make sure no one else is in the car if you have not selected a “pool” or “group” option for your ride.
- Let someone know
Take a screenshot of your order confirmation, route, and destination. Send it to someone you trust or someone expecting you. It’s a good idea to share your estimated arrival time too, so someone will be aware if you are late or missing.
- Pay attention
Even though a lot of us call a car after we have had some drinks, it is a good idea to pay as much attention as possible to your ride. After you are safely in the right car, keep watch over the route on your rideshare or maps app. If you notice any deviation, don’t be afraid to ask what is happening. And make sure you get a sensible answer that leaves you feeling confident in your safety.
- Reach out
Don’t hesitate to call the police if you feel in danger. If you look back after the fact and feel you were not treated properly, reach out to the authorities and an attorney experienced in rideshare cases.