Know Before You Go: Rideshare Safety
There are several things riders can and should do before and during a ride to take charge of their own security and make sure that the vehicle is one they have booked.
- By Matthew Bradley
- Apr 15, 2019
Rideshare platforms have been flooding the recent news cycle following the murder of a South Carolina student by a man posing as a rideshare driver. Having become an important part of our national transportation system and because so many individuals and businesses depend on them daily, rideshare apps have security measures in place to help provide safe experiences for users. However, there are several things riders can and should do before and during a ride to take charge of their own security and make sure that the vehicle is one they have booked.
Before entering the car, travelers should refer to the rideshare app for the model, color and license plate of the vehicle coming to pick them up. Riders can use this information to confirm their vehicle before getting in and should always do so in the following sequence:
1. Look for the make of the car as the vehicle approaches: Travelers can usually identify the make by the emblem on the hood or the words on the back of the vehicle.
2. Confirm the model of the vehicle: The model of a vehicle can usually be found on the trunk. If provided by the app, ridesharers should also use this time to confirm the color of the car.
3. Confirm the license plate number: Many rideshare vehicles look the same, so it’s important to use the license plate number as final confirmation that it’s the correct car before approaching the vehicle. License plate numbers are unique to each vehicle, so if the number in your app differs from the number on the car, do not approach the vehicle. If the number matches, move on to the next step.
4. Indicate for the driver to lower the window or open the back door without entering the vehicle: Before entering the vehicle, travelers should always ask the driver to tell them who he/she is there to pick up. Rideshare platforms provide all drivers with the rider’s name so there is no reason for a rider to enter a vehicle without confirming the driver has the correct name. During this step, ride sharers must remember not to share their name first. If the rider does not hear their name or doesn’t understand the driver, they can ask for the driver to show them the app. If this is the case, travelers should look for the pickup name on the app. Even if the license plate number matches the app, do not get into the car until confirming the driver is there to pick you up.
After getting in the car, riders should remain vigilant. Rideshare apps offer a couple of ways to enhance safety and security while on the ride, including:
● An option to share your destination with a trusted contact: Rideshare apps offer the ability to share the route and destination of a trip, including anticipated arrival time, with any contacts. If on a personal trip, riders may want to share their trip with a friend or relative. If on a work trip, riders can share trips with colleagues or supervisors. As an additional safety measure, travelers can follow-up with whoever they shared their ride with via text, asking them to call you if late.
● An emergency feature within the app: Most rideshare apps have a safety button that connects riders directly to the company safety and security team. Riders can use this button if they feel insecure at any point during their experience. Situations such as erratic driving, an abusive driver or deviating from the recommended route are all reasons to contact the safety team. After contacted, safety teams are able to track the vehicle, communicate with the driver and contact local authorities, if necessary.
Although we should always be cognizant of our surroundings, it’s important to remember that rideshare companies provide safe, reliable and efficient transportation for millions of people every day. The tragedy in South Carolina reminds us that there are predators out there who mean harm and because of this, we must look out for each other and ourselves. Applying these simple steps to everyday travel could help riders prevent future tragedies.