For the media

Ride-hailing tips to travel safely this summer

By The Health News Team | July 14, 2022
Person using smart phone for ride share app

Between the high cost of gas and increased traffic on the roads, ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, offer an attractive way to zip around this summer. They are also a great travel tool when exploring unfamiliar cities.

Ride-hailing services require the use of a digital app, accessible via a smartphone or tablet. After signing into the app and adding credit card information for payment, users enter their desired destination and choose from available ride options, such as car size, price and drop-off time.

A driver working for the service then accepts the rider’s request, picks up the rider, confirms their details, and takes them to their destination. Upon arrival, drivers and riders use the app to rate each other, and riders can pay the fee and add a tip directly in the app.

According to a survey performed by the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of ride-hailing app users report they have never had a negative experience when using these services. Users say the services save time and stress, are a good option for older adults with limited mobility, and are more reliable than taxis or public transportation.

However, for people to continue to use these services, experts stress that safety is an important factor to consider. Ride-hailing companies agree, placing great emphasis on ensuring both riders and their drivers are always safe.

Ride-hailing service safety
The drivers for most major ride-hailing services are background checked; all routes are tracked with GPS; and emergency notification, either to 911 or the company’s own safety line, is possible directly through the app.

Additionally, riders are encouraged to review and follow safety tips before hailing a car:

  1. Request your ride while inside a private or public location to minimize the time you’re waiting alone outside. The app will notify you when your driver is arriving.

  2. Check the driver’s rating on the app. If you are uncomfortable for any reason, cancel the ride and use the app to schedule another.

  3. Check to make sure you’re getting into the right car. Match the license plate, car make and model, and the driver’s photo in the app. Do not get in the car if there are any discrepancies.

  4. Have your driver confirm your name by asking, “Who are you here to pick up?” Your first name will be displayed for the driver in the app. There is no need to share your last name, phone number or other contact information with the driver — this information is safely stored in the app and not provided to the driver.

  5. Ride in groups when possible. Some services offer ride-sharing options that allow multiple app users to travel together and share the cost.

  6. Sit in the back seat unless you are riding with multiple people and always wear your safety belt.

  7. Share your trip details with a friend or family member — this can usually be done directly through the app.

  8. Trust your instincts. If something feels uncomfortable or unsafe, use the app to request help or dial 911 directly. You can also ask to end the ride at any time and should exit the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.

  9. When the car arrives at your destination, exit on the side of the vehicle that allows you to avoid moving traffic. Payment is processed through the app, so you can exit quickly and courteously.

  10. Report any issues directly to the ride-hailing company through the app. Report potential crimes to the police.

Remember, just as you can rate your driver after a ride, your driver can rate you. You rate one another from 1 to 5 stars, based on the trip experience.

Your rating should reflect the quality of service provided by the driver. The driver’s rating will reflect how long you made them wait upon their arrival for pickup, whether you were courteous to them and respected their car, and if you acted in a safe manner throughout the ride.

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