Uber safety tips: staying safe with Uber / Lyft / any taxi

I assembled the following list of Uber safety tips for an article that didn’t get used. The tips are still useful, so here they are:

Remember that you’re getting into a car with a stranger. While millions of trips have been successfully completed on Uber, and I┬ádon’t want to sound too negative about what is a very useful service, it pays to bear the following points in mind:

Before you get in the car:

  • Try not to travel alone. It’s safer with a friend.
    Wait for the Uber in a safe place. This is likely to be indoors, or in a well-lit public place, not on a dark street. Ask to be dropped off in a public place too, if possible.
  • Check the driver’s star rating. If the driver assigned to you has a bad rating, you can cancel before they arrive, and choose another option.
  • Verify the identity of the Uber driver. The app gives you the driver’s first name, a photo of them, and a photo of the vehicle and its number plate.
  • Make sure you get into the right car! If you don’t feel comfortable with the driver, don’t get in the car.
  • Check the condition of the car. If there are flat tyres, funny engine noises, or something doesn’t feel right, don’t get in.
  • Take a photo of the car, showing its number plate, and send it to a friend before you get in. If you don’t have any friends on with you on holiday, send it to somebody back home.
  • Tell people where you are going. If you are meeting friends, the app lets you share your trip details and time of arrival. Your friend can then track your car along its route.

While you are in the car

  • Don’t sit in the front passenger seat. This makes physical contact between you and the driver more difficult.
  • Put your seatbelt on, just in case you are in an accident.
  • Tell the driver that you are meeting somebody at the other end. Knowing that someone is expecting you to arrive could make them think twice about causing trouble.
  • Prepare for an easy escape. Make sure your car door is unlocked, and keep all your belongings (including your phone) close at hand.
  • Keep your phone in your hand, in case you need to send a message asking for help.
  • Keep it friendly. Don’t discuss contentious topics or get into an argument with the driver.
  • Keep an eye on where you are going. Look out for landmarks, places, and look at a map on your phone to check you are heading in the right direction.
  • In case of emergency, dial the emergency services. Calls are always free. In the UK dial, and in Europe dial 112. (Little-known fact: 112 works in the UK as well, and calls are handled by 999 operators.)

Here is the Uber safety statement.