Ride Sharing Services: Tips on how to stay safe while catching a ride

By: Denise Koslowsky

According to a recent Gallup poll, 30% of Americans utilize ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to get around every day. They are certainly convenient, but are they safe?

The recent news of the South Carolina college student who was killed after getting into a car she mistook for an Uber shocked us all but unfortunately it was not the first story to make headlines this year. There was a story out of Louisiana involving a Lyft driver and in Georgia a man posed as an Uber driver and was charged with an attack. Stories such as these are enough to make potential riders pause.

What you can do to stay safe
Although rideshare companies such as Uber say they screen drivers with safety in mind, it is important to take steps to protect yourself. There are several actions riders can take, some of them include:

• As the car arrives, be sure the make, model and color of the vehicle matches what you have been provided on the app.
• Before you get in the vehicle, be sure you take the time to verify the license plate.
• Ask the driver to recite your name by asking them “WHAT’S MY NAME?” Make sure they say your first and last name.

You should also:
• Request your ride from inside, and wait inside until the app shows that it has arrived. Even though the Uber app makes it easy to request a ride from anywhere, it is best that you take every step you can to stay safe.
• When possible avoid getting into a ride share vehicle by yourself.
• Ask for the drivers name and take a look at the photo to be sure you have the correct driver.
• Be sure to tell the details of your trip with a loved one. Uber makes this easy, just tap Share trip status in the app and your driver’s details will be shared and notifications tracking your trip will be sent as well.

Final Piece Of Advice From Advocate
Trust your instincts. If anything doesn’t feel right about your driver or the vehicle, do not get in the car.

You can cancel your trip even after you have been matched with a driver. It is import to note that you may be charged a fee but the peace of mind may be worth it. To cancel after you’ve been matched simply:

• Tap the bar at the bottom of your screen showing your
drivers information.
• Tap Cancel Trip.
• Tap NO to keep the ride or YES CANCEL to cancel and
accept the fee.

You can also cancel without a fee if your driver is over
5 minutes late.

If you are in an emergency situation we encourage you to heed the advice from Uber’s website which advises you to call 911 directly from the Uber app, here’s why:

“Anytime you call 911 from the Uber app. The app provides you with your real-time location and trip details that you can share with the dispatchers.”

The safety of our clients is very important to everyone at Advocate Brokerage. We do our best to offer information that is both informative and educational. After all we strive to educate each client we serve. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 914-723-7100.

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