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7 ways to stay safe while riding with Uber

UBER offers a convenient way of traveling for users but with every new lifestyle and technological innovation, there also comes concerns. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Genevieve Liew and Yilin Jiang suggest tips on how you can stay safe with Uber. 

Ride-sharing has exploded onto the scene over the last few years with one service in particular leading the charge: Uber. With the tap of a button, Uber connects passengers with willing drivers. No tip is required and no cash is exchanged. This is because payment is taken automatically from the passenger’s debit card.

However, new innovations carry a baggage of concerns with it too.

A survey was conducted at Trinity College Foundation Studies regarding the amount of Uber riders and their perceptions on safety assurance. Out of 50 people surveyed, 35 said that they were loyal Uber users. However, out of those 35 people, 28 said they did not always feel safe with the ride-sharing service. We also found that those who do not take Uber have either never heard of it, would rather take public transport, or worry about their safety should they decide to take up the service. Nevertheless, not everyone feels safe riding with Uber.

While Uber has certainly proven to be a very convenient way of getting around, for those hesitant on using Uber here are seven tips on how you can stay safe on the ride.

Uber App

New innovations like ride-sharing make life more convenient but there also complications that come with new technologies. | Photo: Yilin Jiang

1. Verify the identity of the Uber driver

The Uber app provides riders with their driver’s first name, license plate number, photo, a picture of their vehicle as well as a star rating. This information is intended to avert riders from getting into a car with a fake driver so make sure you look over all this information before stepping into your Uber driver’s vehicle.

2. Take note of the driver’s rating

Uber riders and drivers are free to rate each other out of five stars using the app’s rating system. Given that riders and drivers are in the same vehicle at the same time, this encourages better service from the Uber driver and better behavior from the rider themselves. If the driver’s rating is bad, perhaps consider canceling on them and going with another option. Be sure to rate your driver after the ride as well so that other Uber riders can get a heads up in the future.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Do not have your eyes glued to your phone throughout the ride. Have your phone in your hand in case of emergency, but be mindful of the road and of your driver as well. Be aware of what is going on around you and look out for landmarks.

4. Update your loved ones on your whereabouts

With a click of a button, riders have the privilege of sharing their trip details with anyone. This includes the estimated time of arrival and information that provides others with the specific route you would be taking on your trip. A family member or a friend who receives the link from the rider can precisely see the car moving along the distance.

5. Wait indoors until the Uber driver arrives

The app will alert riders when the driver arrives but if you are in a potentially dangerous area or one that you are unfamiliar with, it might be a good idea to wait indoors before the driver arrives, especially if you intend to travel early in the morning or late at night.

Try not to have them pick you up from your house or a quiet area. Additionally, try to have them drop you off in a public area too.

6. Don’t go on the ride if you are uncomfortable with the driver

Go with your gut feeling. If the driver seems dodgy, do not go on the ride. If you feel uncomfortable during the ride, feel free to end it and get out of the car. Make sure that the door is unlocked at all times as it makes it easier for you to leave if you have to.

7. Keep your personal belongings close

Be mindful of your own belongings during your ride as well. That way, if you do need to end the ride abruptly, you can grab your stuff and leave quicker. If you feel particularly unsafe or want to be extra cautious, carrying mace or pepper spray with you will give you a stronger sense of security and protection.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

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