What you need to know before getting in the car: Uber safety tips

Reflector Staff

Written by Blakeley Bartee and Noelle Walker

Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies can pick you up and give you a ride anywhere  with just a few clicks of a button. However, it can potentially be dangerous.

Last year, CNN reported that 103 Uber and 18 Lyft drivers were accused of sexual assault or abuse between 2014 and 2018. Although Uber announced the addition of new safety features, including an emergency call feature and annual reviews of drivers’ background checks, in April 2018, they still list several safety tips on their website.

1. Check your car and driver

Every time you take a trip with Uber, please make sure you’re getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, car make and model, and driver photo with what’s provided in your app, according to Uber.

2. #WhatsMyName

#WhatsMyName is a trending hashtag on Twitter that was created by University of South Carolina students after the killing of Samantha Josephson when she got into a car she believed was her Uber, according to The New York Times.

Josephson’s family created #WhatsMyName, a website where people can get educated on rideshare safety. Their mission “is to educate the world on rideshare safety and the simple precautions one can take to ensure no other family has to suffer this unspeakable tragedy. Samantha may be gone but our goal for the rest of our time on earth is to share her story and make a lasting change,” according to #WHATSMYNAME.

3. Use Uber’s Safety Features.

Uber recently added two safety features in the app: Ride Push Notification and a Ride in-App Banner. The push notifications tells you to check your ride and the banner reminds you how to confirm you’re in the right car before the driver arrives, according to Uber Newsroom.

4. Ride in groups.

There is safety in numbers, and riding with a group can help you feel more secure as well as ensure there are multiple people who can call for help if anything happens.

5. Be a back-seat rider.

Uber suggests riding in the back of the vehicle, especially if you’re riding alone. Sitting in the back will put some distance between you and the driver and allow you to make a safe exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic.

6. Let someone know where you’re going

Someone knowing your location and where you’re heading  can give you peace of mind while keeping you safe. If you can, stay on the phone with them.

7. Stay inside while you request your ride.

Uber’s official safety tips include staying indoors while you request and wait for an Uber ride. This way, you can reduce the amount of time you spend outside by yourself.

8. Use your best judgment.

On their website, Uber asks riders to follow their instincts. If you feel that you’re in a dangerous situation, call 911. The Uber app’s 911 call feature provides you with your real-time location and trip details for you to share with the dispatcher.