Ridesharing Apps; Guide to a Safe Drive Home

Written by Bonnie Gringer

For most people, there’s always somewhere they need to go. Whether it’s to work, to the airport, or back home, one needs transportation to get where they’re headed. While most people drive themselves or take public transportation, there are times when neither of these options are viable. During situations such as these, people can quickly and easily arrange for a ride by using a ride-sharing app. Of these, Uber and Lyft are the two largest and most familiar apps in the U.S., particularly for people living in urban and suburban areas. However, before using these services, it’s important to think carefully and be well-informed about how to use them wisely.

Courtesy of smartphones, ride-sharing apps have become a convenient and increasingly popular way to travel that’s competitive with taxis. Teens are often unable to use ride-sharing services if they’re unaccompanied, but among adults, surveys have shown that 15 percent have used ride-sharing apps, with 3 percent using them on a daily or weekly basis and 12 percent on a monthly basis or less frequently. Ride-sharing among adults is most popular with individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 and college graduates: Twenty-eight percent of 18-to-29-year-old adults use ride-sharing apps, and 29 percent of college graduates use them. But because passengers are riding with drivers they are unfamiliar with, it’s crucial they take certain safety precautions.

Before Your Ride

When a person makes arrangements using a ride-sharing app, there are certain things that should be done before getting in the car. When setting up a ride, check how other passengers have rated the driver and their experience. One should then consider how comfortable they are riding alone with a stranger. If the idea makes them feel uncomfortable, they may opt to share the ride with others by using the carpool option: While the number of stops increases, one can reach their destination with the comfort of knowing that there is a certain amount of safety in numbers. Additional safety measures that passengers can take include carrying some form of personal security device with them, such as a whistle to attract attention, and using the app to share their status with friends.

When the driver arrives, the first thing that one should do is confirm that the vehicle, license plate, and driver all match up to the information provided by the app. Ask to see the driver’s ID to confirm that they are who they say they are. This is a crucial step that can prevent a person from getting in the wrong car or riding with someone who is only posing as a driver of the service in question. If any of this information seems off, do not get into the car. Also, take a photo of the vehicle and its license plate before accepting the ride and getting into the car, just in case something goes wrong during the drive and you need to provide this information to the authorities. When getting inside of the vehicle, individuals who are traveling alone should sit in the back seat where they can use either door to escape if necessary and avoid unwanted physical contact. And if you’re heading home, ask to be dropped off at a destination nearby, rather than allowing the driver to know exactly where you live.

Traveling to Your Destination

It’s important that people who use ride-sharing apps not get complacent during the ride to their destination. Regardless of how friendly a driver is or how comfortable they make the passenger feel, one should always be cautious and aware of what is going on around them. They should never doze off or fall asleep during the ride, as this leaves them vulnerable to criminal activities such as theft. Staying awake also allows the passenger to confirm that the driver is headed to the appropriate location. To do that, one should use a GPS navigation app to follow along with the ride. If at any time a passenger feels concern for their safety, they should ask the driver to stop or, if necessary, call 911 for help.