Richard Vogel/Star Tribune/TNS
In this era, it is very common for Americans to get into an Uber or Lyft for transportation. The mobile apps make it convenient for people to find a ride in seconds. No cash needed, quick, convenient, and cheaper than normal taxi companies.
Although it is very common to get into an Uber or Lyft, it is still extremely dangerous if you’re not paying close attention to certain details. According to USA Today, Samantha Josephson lost her life when she got into the wrong car that she had mistaken as her Uber. The South Carolina college student was kidnapped and murdered on March 29 by supposed suspect Nathaniel David Rowland. Video shows Josephson getting into what she thought was an Uber at 2 a.m. Josephson was later found in the woods.
Josephson is not the only case. According to Atchison Transportation Services, there have been approximately 10 deaths attributed to Uber or Lyft between 2014 and 2016. The number of alleged sexual assaults in Uber and Lyft, kidnapping, and imposters is even larger. Although there have been a large amount incidents, it is still considered rare according to ATS compared to how often people use Uber and Lyft.
Uber shares safety tips for riders on their website to promote customer safety during rides. They first recommend that riders request their ride inside, and then wait until the driver has arrived to minimize the amount of time a rider is waiting outside alone. They also ask that riders check the driver’s vehicle once it arrives by matching license plate numbers, as well as the make, model and year of the car. Riders should also confirm that the person in the car is the same person in the picture and confirm their name. Uber also encourages riders to be backseat driver, meaning sit in the back seat for easier access of getting out the car and to always share their location and trip details with someone they trust. Uber also advises riders to trust and follow their intuition, use their best judgement and trust their instincts. If a rider is ever in a dangerous or urgent situation while in an Uber, they can call 911 by using the emergency button located on the app. This will give the rider the proper information needed to tell the dispatcher regarding theri trip details and real-time location.
Lyft offers some of the same safety tips as Uber, with a few key differences. Lyft suggests that riders should leave their guns at home, because Lyft does not allow riders or drivers to carry any weapons. They also recommend that riders keep their valuables close because the company does not reimburse riders for lost items in drivers cars. Lastly, they want to ensure the safety of the drivers just as much as the riders, so they ask users to not request drivers to break traffic laws.
If users continue to use Uber and Lyft while keeping these safety tips in mind, chances are these transportation companies will be in business for a long time.