Uber and Lyft are a popular alternative to traditional taxi services because they allow customers to take advantage of a much broader network of drivers and can be cheaper and more convenient. However, there are always safety concerns about getting into unmarked cars driven by people who are independent contractors rather than more thoroughly vetted employees. Both companies have recently ignored calls to address safety concerns before Congress.
Although Uber is introducing a new verification program after a University of South Carolina student was tragically killed after getting into a car she mistakenly believed was her ride, passengers should still make sure to take every possible precaution to ensure their safety. Some common steps are listed below.
As the car approaches:
- If there is a map tracking the approaching vehicle, make sure the car you believe is your ride is coming from the same direction as the car being tracked on the map.
- If possible, request your ride inside and wait for the driver from the safety of the building.
- If you are waiting outside, when an approaching car does not match the description of your Uber or Lyft, step back from the curb and back away farther if the driver slows down or tries to engage you in conversation.
- Check that the vehicle make, model, and license matches the description and look for an Uber or Lyft designation on the vehicle.
- Share your planned trip with trusted contacts, either through the app or another means.
As the car arrives:
- Make sure there is no oncoming traffic that might hurt you as you approach the vehicle.
- If the description matches and you are certain this is your ride, ask the driver for his or her name.
- Rather than telling the driver your name, ask them who they are there to pick up.
- Ride in the backseat on the passenger side, not in the front. This maximizes the space between you and driver while giving you access to a door.
In the car:
- Do not share personal information with the driver.
- If at any point you feel unsafe or become worried, tell the driver your plans have changed and ask them to pull over if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to pull over, text or call a friend.
Working primarily with dangerous drug and defective medical device cases, Whitney takes pride in representing the wrongfully injured in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina. She takes pride in offering experienced legal guidance with both responsiveness and compassion—all of which speaks to her dedication to helping each and every one of her clients.