Over the past five years, rideshare companies have changed the way many people get around. Lyft is the second largest rideshare company in the United States, behind Uber. While Uber controls most of the market share, Lyft still maintains a significant presence in over 300 cities across the United States. Lyft is similar to Uber in most ways, and in many cases, drivers will drive for both Uber and Lyft.
While Lyft offers users convenience, there are also some serious risks. When someone uses Lyft, they are essentially getting into the car with a complete stranger. This poses obvious safety risks. For example, a recent study conducted by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that rideshare companies are responsible for a two to three percent increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents. Putting aside the risk of a Chicago car accident, there is also the risk of being assaulted by a Lyft driver. While this may sound far-fetched, Uber acknowledged that, over the past two years, there have been over 6,000 reports of sexual abuse. This includes reports by drivers as well as passengers.
For some, these risks do not justify the convenience offered by rideshare companies. However, despite the serious safety risks, Lyft remains wildly popular. Those who choose to ride with Lyft should keep the following tips in mind to help ensure a safe ride:
- Choose a safe place to wait for the Lyft driver – To be sure, part of the convenience Lyft offers is that a driver will come directly to the rider. However, users should try to wait for their ride in a well-lit area, and preferable with others. Similarly, when getting picked up or dropped off at home, riders should consider setting the pick-up or drop-off point away from their home.
- Verify the drive and car – When the Lyft app matches a driver and a passenger, users are provided with a recent image of the driver as well as a stock image of the driver’s vehicle. Before getting into the Lyft, riders should ensure that the vehicle matches the picture and should also verify the driver’s name.
- What is my name? – Before getting into a Lyft, riders should consider asking the driver to verify their name to ensure that the person in the vehicle is actually a Lyft driver. Riders can also ask the driver to verify their destination.
- Do not ride alone – While it may not always be realistic, passengers should consider riding with others when possible. Riders may also have the option of selecting a shared ride.
- Use Lyft’s in-app features – The Lyft app allows users to share updates about their trip in real time. Users can tap “share route” to update their friends during the ride. This feature gives Lyft users another option – other than calls and texts – to keep friends and loved ones updated.
- Choosing where to sit – Lyft recommends that riders sit in the back seat because it places more distance between them and the driver, and it also gives the rider two exits in the event of an accident or other emergency. Many riders prefer to sit on the passenger side of the rear seat because this gives them a good view of the driver as well as the road.
- Voice any concerns – Before the driver takes off, Lyft users should not hesitate to tell the Lyft operator to drive safely and to follow the law. Some Lyft drivers may think they are doing what the passenger wants by driving aggressively, however, this only increases the risks of a serious Chicago car accident. By telling a Lyft driver that they value their safety over their time, a passenger clears up any potential misconceptions. Of course, if a driver is using the phone, riders should tell the driver to wait until after the ride to have the conversation – even if they are using a hands-free device.
- Be a good passenger – Lyft users should be good passengers to ensure a safe ride. This includes always wearing their seatbelt and not doing anything to distract the driver during the trip. Passengers should similarly not do anything to encourage aggressive or dangerous driving behavior.
- Keep it professional – Any information that the Lyft driver needs, he can access through the company’s app. Thus, there is no need to divulge any personal information to the driver. This includes the passenger’s last name, contact information or social media handles. Similarly, when heading home, riders should consider getting dropped off down the street or around the corner form their home to keep the driver from knowing their address.
- Put safety first – If something seems off when the Lyft driver arrives, riders should go with their gut and cancel the ride if necessary. Whether it be a discrepancy between the driver’s appearance and his profile picture, the route the driver proposes or anything else, Lyft users should not hesitate to cancel the trip if something does not feel right.
- Be careful when entering and exiting – Lyft drivers may not have a good place to pull over to pick up a passenger. Often, drivers will stop in the middle of the road, requiring passengers to cross the street to get into the car. Not surprisingly, many Chicago Lyft car accidents involve those few moments when a passenger is getting into or out of a Lyft. Riders should not feel pressured to crossing the street anywhere other than designated crosswalks when a driver arrives.
- Give feedback – Leaving a review for a Lyft driver is a good way to share a rider’s experience with others. If something about the trip or driver seemed dangerous, let other potential riders know by leaving a review. Riders can also contact Lyft directly regarding specific drivers.
While these tips are useful to keep in mind when riding with Lyft, riders should always rely on their common sense and gut instincts. Of course, some accidents cannot be prevented, even when a passenger takes all safety precautions. Those who have been involved in a Chicago car accident involving a Lyft or been assaulted by a Lyft driver should reach out to an experienced personal injury law firm for immediate assistance.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Lyft Accident Law Firm
If you or someone you care about has recently been injured in a Chicago rideshare accident, the dedicated Illinois injury lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are happy to help. Our skilled lawyers represent injured parties as well as families who have been injured or lost loved ones in all types of personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. Our firm has over 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of Chicago car accident victims, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. From the moment you invite us to work on your case, we diligently investigate your claim, seeking to uncover all potentially liable parties and theories of liability. All cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that we will only accept payment if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you or your family. To learn more, call 1-877-595-4878 to schedule a free consultation today.