These days, calling an Uber during a night out is as natural as brushing your teeth or putting on your makeup. Since it’s such a common experience, it’s easy to let your guard down when you request a ride because you’re comfortable.
The death of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson on March 29 is a sad reminder to always be aware of your surroundings when using ride-sharing services. Many women worry that they will come off as rude or judgmental if they take extra precautions to ensure their safety while ride sharing. However, safety should always come first.
There are several simple things you can do to stay safe from the time you call your ride to the time you reach your destination.
Request your ride inside: Plan ahead and submit your Uber or Lyft request when you’re ready to leave your location but before you walk out the door to limit your time alone outside. Only leave the building when you’re notified of your ride’s arrival. Also, make sure to arrange for pickup in an area that allows you enough time to confirm that you are getting into the right vehicle.
Verify your driver: Before you get into the vehicle, ask the driver what their name is and double check his or her photo and the car’s make, model and license plate against the information in the app to make sure it matches up. Then ask them to confirm your name. It’s as simple as asking, “Who are you here to pick up?”
Share your trip: Both the Uber and Lyft apps include a feature that allows you to share your trip with a friend or family member once you’re en route so they can track you on GPS until you arrive at your destination. They will be able to see your driver’s name, photo, license plate and your exact location throughout the ride.
Following these tips can help to keep you safe while using a ride-sharing service, but it’s also important to travel in groups when possible and look out for each other.
Don’t Forget to Check the Child Locks
One of the scariest details of Josephson’s case is that she couldn’t escape from the vehicle because the suspect had the child locks on. This is something that is very easy to check when you open the door to an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Even better, if you see that they’re on, you can easily turn them off without the driver knowing.
A vehicle’s child locks can be found on the outer edge of the back passenger doors and their look will differ slightly depending on the car. Just make sure the lever, switch or twist lock is turned to the off position before you enter the vehicle.