“I’ll call an Uber” is a phrase that is said today by millions of ridesharing app users across the country, as many see ridesharing services as a reliable and efficient way to get where they’re going. However, after many reports of incidents involving ridesharing passengers being harmed, a new spotlight is being put on the need for safety while ridesharing.
Augusta University Campus Police share some important safety tips to remember when using ridesharing services.
Request your ride inside
Spending unnecessary time outside and alone with your phone in your hand alerts other drivers that you’re waiting to be picked up by a ridesharing service. It’s better to wait indoors until the app shows your driver has arrived.
Ride with the right ride
Always check and make sure the license plate and make and model of car match the information given on your ride confirmation before entering the vehicle. If there is a picture given use that to also confirm your driver.
Instead of asking the driver, “Are you So-and-So?” Before getting into the car, ask them instead, “Who are you here to pick up and where are you headed?” The correct driver will have that information.
Protect your personal information
There’s no need to share your name, phone number, or other contact information with your driver. If a rider and driver need to get into contact with each other, the ridesharing apps automatically anonymize both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy.
There’s safety in numbers
It’s best to travel in groups. Make sure your group stays together and travels in well-lit and well-trafficked areas. Do not travel alone at all costs.
Be a backseat driver
If it’s possible, sit in the backseat while riding, especially if riding alone. This gives you a greater ability to safely exit the vehicle on either side. It also puts some personal space between you and your driver.
Check the child locks
Before entering the vehicle, make sure that the driver does not have the child locks on. These locks are built into the rear doors of most cars, and when enabled they prevent the doors from being opened from the inside. You need to be able to get out in an emergency. You can either ask your driver if the locks are on or look on the inside of the door to see if the lock is engaged.
Share your ride details with a friend
If using Uber, tap “Share status” in the app while en route to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the Uber app. If using Lyft, tap ‘Send ETA’ after requesting a ride to send a friend a text message with an in-app link to your current route and location. If a friend sends you their ETA, you’ll be able to see their progress toward the destination, a photo of the driver, and the vehicle color, make, model, and license plate number.
Augusta University Police Captain Ted McNeal, recommends “all Augusta University students, faculty, and employees download the RAVE Guardian safety app,” set up your profile, and learn how to use it if you have not already done so. He shares how “with RAVE they can set safety timers so that the Police and any family or friends that are set up will know where they are when the app is in use.” The Augusta University Police Department also offers safety escorts on campus, and the RAD program offers a self-defense course for women.