If you use Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare services while traveling in new places, there are a few specific safety tips you should keep in mind to avoid dangerous situations. Uber lists some of these on its website under Rider Safety Tips, but the list is incomplete. Here’s what you need to do before, during, and even after your ride to ensure rideshare safety for you and others.
Rideshare Safety Tips for Travelers
Make these 11 rideshare safety tips part of your routine, whether you’re traveling around your hometown or in a new and unfamiliar destination.
Share Your Trip
When traveling alone, especially at night, always share your trip with others. It’s the easiest and quickest way to let someone track your whereabouts in case something happens during your ride. The person you share your trip with will get a notification to their phone and be able to follow along via GPS. To do so, hit the “Share trip status” option with Uber and “Share ride details” with Lyft.
This is an often overlooked part of rideshare safety, but an important step to take once your ride is complete. Post-trip, make sure to rate your driver and leave helpful feedback so you can keep good drivers on the road and bad ones off.
Keep Your Personal Info Confidential
There’s no harm in exchanging pleasantries with your driver, but avoid giving him or her any personal information, like how long you’re traveling for, where you live, your phone number, or any other contact information.
Request Your Ride While Inside
If you can, request your ride while indoors to avoid lingering outside too long with your phone out, which may attract thieves or pickpockets.
Confirm Your Driver and Car Before Getting In
There are some reported cases of scammers posing as rideshare drivers, so always confirm the license plate and name of your driver before getting in, and check their appearance against the photo in the app. And, if you’re getting picked up in a popular area, like an airport, this will also avoid accidentally taking someone else’s ride.
Pro tip: Always ask a driver for the name of the passenger before you get in the car instead of saying your name first. This way, you can be 100 percent sure that person is your driver.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Just because you’re in someone else’s car or riding in the back seat doesn’t mean you’re at less of a risk of being in an accident. Always buckle up—drivers appreciate it. Under Uber’s description of “Your Rating” you’ll find that wearing your seatbelt is listed as an item that helps your passenger rating.
Sit in the Back Seat
If you’re traveling alone, always choose the back seat. According to Dave Sutton, spokesperson for Who’s Driving You?, a public safety campaign from the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association that promotes for-hire vehicle safety, “Many of the incidents that we’ve seen … have happened to passengers riding up front.”
Check Your Driver’s Rating
Both Uber and Lyft allow passengers to rate drivers on a scale of one to five Always double-check that your driver has prior experience and a rating as close to 5.0 as possible (over 4.8 is generally pretty good). Uber and Lyft may deactivate drivers whose ratings fall below a certain standard.
Never Pay Cash
A driver should never ask you to pay cash for your ride. Both Uber and Lyft give you an option to tip through the app after your trip, so there’s no need to have your wallet out during a rideshare.
Know Your Surroundings
If you’re in an unfamiliar city or area, make sure to track your route on your own maps app to ensure the driver is following the correct route. If you’re getting picked up from the airport, be sure to follow the prompted instructions when you open the rideshare app.
This also goes for the neighborhood and time of day you’re requesting a ride. Be smart and aware of open businesses around you and avoid calling rideshares alone late at night. If you’re getting picked up from a bar or restaurant, pay extra attention to these tips.
Call for Help
Both Uber and Lyft have emergency buttons that let you call 911 directly from the app if something goes wrong. The apps will display your current whereabouts so you can share them with the dispatcher during your call.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Best Uber Alternatives Around the World
- The Best (and Worst) Countries for Cheap Taxi Rides
- How to Use Uber and Lyft When You Travel
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.