Style Me Tactical: 8 Safety Tips When Using Uber or Lyft

I think the creation of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft have been a great addition to the way we get around. Personally, I hated the cabs in DC. They took longer routes to get increased fares and sometimes wouldn’t take you to your destination because the probability of driver picking up another fare in that area was low. So when ride sharing services started becoming available in DC, I jumped right on it and I love it. I use Uber at least 5-10 times per week. With a quick use of an app on my phone, I’ve got a car ready to pick me up in minutes. It’s so convenient; you can’t beat it. I live in downtown DC and haven’t owned a car in over ten years. I know that might seem so odd to some but I really don’t need one. I have access to public transportation with Metro, I use ZipCar (car rentals by the hour) if I need to leave the city, I can walk to many places, and then I use Uber.

I get asked a lot if I feel safe when I use Uber. While my answer is always, ‘yes’ it’s always caveated with ‘but I’m cautious’. Because let’s not forget that feeling safe is relative. Yes I “feel safe” but really what I mean is that I don’t have concerns using a ride share service because I make sure that I follow some simple rules.

There are many stories of people who have run into issues with their ride share driver from minor verbal altercations to more severe and life altering threats or even attacks. Most recently, the tragic murder of college student Samantha Josephon made headlines because she mistakenly got into a vehicle she thought was her Uber. It’s terrible that we have to live in a world where evil people exist and want inflict harm onto others. But it is reality and we can’t turn a blind eye to it. All we can do is prepare ourselves with the knowledge and tools to help prevent something happening and to give us a fighting chance if harm were to come our way.

Since I would consider myself an avid Uber user I wanted to share my tips that I follow when using a car sharing service. Some of these tips may seem obvious but it surprises me just how many that use car sharing don’t follow them; I’ve had people try to get into my Uber thinking it was theirs because well, they just didn’t follow some of the basic rules.

8 Safety Tips When Using Uber or Lyft Ride Share

8 Ride Share Safety Tips

  1. Always verify the car you are getting into by double-checking that that license plate, make, and model of the car matches the information in the app. It’s impossible to know what every car model looks like but start with car’s make and color. Then verify the license plate. That is your key. If the license plate number doesn’t match what is in the app, don’t get in. The driver can bitch about it and makes excuses but if it doesn’t match, don’t take a chance. Report the discrepancy with the app’s customer service. Don’t fret over any potential cancellation fee you might get charged because your life isn’t worth that fee and most likely the service will reimburse the charge.
  2. Before you get in, ask the driver who the ride is for. Have the driver tell you your name. If he can’t tell or doesn’t know, don’t get in. You can also ask for the driver to verify his name and you can make sure that matches what is in the app as well.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.