Just because someone says they drive for Uber is no reason to get in their car.
In New York City, we waited on the sidewalk with a dozen other tourists waiting on their Uber and Lyft rides. Nearby, a man approached a group of girls and asked they needed a ride. “We called Uber,” one said. “I am Uber,” the man said, encouraging them to follow him.
Thankfully, the ladies didn’t. But it’s a scam we see over and over again. In the best case of this scenario, it’s someone hoping to make a few dollars off unsuspecting tourists needing a ride. We’ve heard the horror stories of the worst case scenarios making headlines around the world.
Rules of the Road: Rideshare Tips to Stay Safe
If you are going to use a rideshare program like Uber or Lyft, here are some basic rules you should be sure to follow, to be sure you’re safe.
Don’t look like you’re waiting for an Uber.
What kind of advice is that? You want your driver to see you, right? Well, yes, but… Anyone standing on the sidewalk looking up the street can be picked out as a potential fare. Cabbies know this, and may stop to offer a ride. So will unscrupulous or illegitimate rideshare drivers who want to pick off someone else’s customer.
Don’t get in the wrong ride.
Does it matter if you get a ride from the wrong driver? Well, besides “robbing” your original driver of a few dollars, you’re putting yourself at risk. Having that ride arranged in the app is your safety net, and the driver’s. There is a record of who you are, who your driver is, where you’re coming from, and where you’re going. If something happens along the way, that’s important information. Be sure you’re checking the license plate as well. If it doesn’t match, that’s not your ride.
Don’t volunteer your name, or the driver’s.
For years, we confirmed the driver’s identity by asking, “Are you
Don’t get into a car you didn’t request.
A legitimate rideshare driver will never ask if you need a ride, unsolicited. That’s not the business model, and may be a violation of their terms. When you do accept a ride from someone who claims to drive for Uber or Lyft, when you didn’t request one, you have none of the protections the companies offer. They can charge whatever they think you’ll pay, and your safety may be at risk as well.
Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber have met with mixed results but, for the most part, they are safe and convenient alternatives to driving or taking a cab. For many people, they have become a primary means of transportation. There have been issues, but it looks like the rideshare model is here to stay.
Have you used Uber, Lyft, or a similar rideshare app? We’d love to hear about your experiences, and your tips for safely using them. Just leave your story in the comments below, or click for more #Travel140!
Ready to Uber?
With common sense usage, we think Uber is a great option. We have used the service in cities around the world, and have never had an issue. If you’re ready to give Uber a try but don’t have an account, we’d be delighted if you’d use our referral link. You’ll get $5US off your first ride, and we’ll get credit towards free rides. Thank you in advance!