Rideshare driving can be a dangerous job - after all, strangers are getting into your vehicle! However, Uber and Lyft have made strides to make things safer for both drivers and passengers. Plus, I share tips on how to make every trip you take safer.
Buckle has partnered with Harry Campbell, founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, to provide our Members with the very best tips, tricks, and news to help maximize their income as a rideshare and delivery driver.
Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are generally a win-win for both the driver and passenger. If you have a vehicle, you can earn money by dropping people off, and if you’re a passenger, you get safe and reliable transportation to your destination.
All rideshare trips would go off without a hitch in a perfect world. Unfortunately, both passengers and drivers have experienced safety incidents and concerns in the past. With drivers in particular, a few situations made headlines when drivers were yelled at, harassed, or even assaulted while driving.
Driving for Uber and Lyft is generally pretty safe, but anomalies are possible and can happen. This is true with any type of situation, whether you’re walking into a store or dropping a child off at school. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and know how to keep yourself safe.
Here are three key tips to staying safe as an Uber or Lyft driver.
1. Utilize In-App Features
Uber and Lyft have pledged their commitment to driver safety, and Lyft even released its first safety report back in 2019. Both apps have built-in safety features that you should regularly take advantage of.
This includes verification steps for drivers and passengers to ensure the correct person enters their assigned vehicle. In addition, Uber allows you to share your trip status with a friend so they can follow your progress in real-time and ensure you make it to your destination.
Uber also has a safety number and emergency button that will instantly contact the authorities and share the location of your vehicle.
Lyft has partnered with ADT to provide emergency help with a discreet call. If necessary, ADT can alert emergency services with your vehicle’s make and model, license plate, and drop-off location.
2. Get a Dashcam
A dashcam is a must-have when you’re driving for Uber or Lyft. You never know when a video record of certain trips will come in handy or provide some added accountability to the driver. A passenger may think twice about getting loud or angry in your vehicle when they see you have a camera recording the ride.
In some cases, a passenger’s response is unpredictable, but your dashcam can capture real footage of a situation or even a minor accident. There have been reports of sexual harassment both on the driver's side and the passenger's side with Uber and Lyft. Female drivers may feel more comfortable driving at night and picking up men or passengers who might have been out eating and drinking.
Meanwhile, male drivers might feel more comfortable picking up female drivers who may have had too much to drink, knowing there’s a dashcam to serve as an impartial witness. Also, dashcams can come in handy if you refuse to pick up a minor and need to prove to Uber or Lyft that you weren’t being discriminatory.
One dashcam option that seems excellent in terms of quality and features is Display Ride. Display Ride is a rideshare monitoring platform, and you’re provided with a dual camera dashcam that you can install and set up within 30 minutes.
Both cameras record at 12 frames per second. If you’re worried about storage issues with your dashcam footage, Display Ride is cloud-based and sends you a link with a summary report after each ride.
When narrowing down the best dashcam for your vehicle, compare features you’re interested in, like: recording audio, wireless storage, and inside and outside recordings.
3. Install a Safety Partition
A safety partition may sound old school - you may be thinking of a taxi driver with a huge wall up dividing the front seat from the back seat. However, for rideshare drivers, they can be very effective and also pretty modern.
Safety partitions are very durable and easy to install. Some can withstand up to 1,200 pounds of impact and are clear, so you can still see and interact with passengers.
A partition could also provide passengers some added protection during sudden stops or even a collision. The downside is that depending on the size of your car, you may not get 100% full coverage with a safety partition as there could be some gaps when you install it (especially at the edges of the partition).
They can also be quite pricey and range from $400 to $900, so it’s definitely an investment.
Prioritizing Safety and Using Your Best Judgment
Some people can drive for Uber or Lyft for years and never run into an issue or feel unsafe. Still, I think it’s wise for everyone to know how to prepare for situations we hope to never encounter personally.
While driving can be risky, knowing those risks and how to mitigate them is key. Some common sense tips: Lock your doors when making deliveries and carry an extra set of keys, dedicate some of your earnings to invest in a good dashcam, and trust your instincts.
Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerospace Engineer and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, a blog, podcast and Youtube channel for ridehail drivers and other gig workers and author of, The Rideshare Guide. Over the years, Harry has covered the gig economy industry closely and talked to tens of thousands of drivers and gig workers about their experience on the road.