New York’s personal injury law firm

Click For Your Free Consulation

Tips on Staying Safe When Taking an Uber or Lyft

Posted in Car Accidents on April 26, 2022

Rideshare services have filled an important gap between public transit and taxis for those who do not own a car. And in some respects, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are safer than public transit or taxis.

But you can always take steps to improve your safety when you use rideshare services. From avoiding assault to surviving a car accident, here are some tips on staying safe when taking an Uber or Lyft ride.

Dangers of Hailing a Ride

For over a century, taxi services were the only way to get a point-to-point ride. You could hail a taxi from almost any street, landmark, or business and have the cab driver take you directly to your destination.

Taxis are expensive due to limited supply. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft flooded the market with cheaper alternatives. The result has been a moderating of both rideshare and taxi prices.

While cities regulated taxis and taxi drivers, they did not regulate rideshare drivers.

This led to incidents where Uber and Lyft passengers experienced:

  • Sexual assault
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Car accident injuries

According to Uber’s records, the company received 6,000 complaints of sexual assault in the two years spanning 2017 to 2018.

How Can You Stay Safe When Taking an Uber or Lyft?

Uber and Lyft provide tools to protect your health and safety, including:

  • Background checks on drivers
  • A description of your car before it arrives
  • The driver’s name and photo
  • Emergency assistance button in the app
  • Sharing your location with family and friends in real-time
  • Anonymizing your phone number so the driver does not have it
  • Liability insurance in case of a Lyft or Uber accident

Even with these tools, both platforms recommend taking a few steps to protect yourself, including:

Check the Car and Driver Before Riding

In a particularly horrific case, a woman was killed when she got into the wrong car, which she mistakenly believed was her Uber ride. Both Uber and Lyft tell you the make and model of your vehicle before it arrives. You can use this information to make sure you get into the right car.

Both Uber and Lyft also provide the driver’s name and photo. You can verify that your driver matches the driver who responded to your ride request.

This guarantees that the car and driver have met the company’s safety screenings. This also ensures the driver has completed the training videos required for all drivers. And if the driver gets into an accident, you will be covered by the rideshare’s insurance policy.

Ride in the Backseat

Both rideshare companies required passengers to ride in the backseat during the pandemic. Even though the companies have lifted this restriction, you should continue to ride in the backseat.

Riding in the backseat reduces the risk of catching COVID from an infected driver. But it also gives you more space to fight off an assault. And if you feel uncomfortable with your driver, you can discreetly add a stop to your route to exit the car early.

Use the Emergency Assistance Button

Uber uses GPS to monitor your ride and contact you if the driver goes off-course. Lyft uses GPS to monitor stops and contacts you if the driver stops for too long. Both these automated systems could save you in an unfamiliar city.

Both platforms also provide a button to request emergency assistance. Uber allows you to call 911 through the app and share your location, while Lyft partners with ADT to call 911 for you to describe the car and destination.

What Should You Do After an Uber or Lyft Incident?

If something happens during an Uber or Lyft ride, try to collect as much information as possible about the driver and car. Uber and Lyft also collect this information.

Report the incident to the rideshare company and the police immediately. Whether the incident involved criminal behavior by the driver or a traffic accident, a police report will record what happened.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600