Over the past few years, the rideshare company Uber has exploded in popularity, offering many a convenient way to get where they need to go. Indeed, upon first hearing about the concept of Uber, it may seem too good to be true: for less money than calling a cab a user can summon a personal driver to take them wherever they need to go. However, several now that the company has been around for a few years, the risks of Uber are coming to the surface.
According to a recent university study, a city’s traffic-fatality rate can be expected to increase by two to three percent after rideshare companies begin services in the city. Not only that, but according to recent filings released by Uber, there were over 6,000 reports of sexual assault made by Uber drivers and passengers over the past two years. Of course, these statistics may not deter people from using Uber. However, those who get into a car with a stranger should take additional precautions to ensure a safe ride.
- Wait in a safe place – Part of the convenience of Uber is that the driver will come directly to the rider. It may not be a good idea for a rider to wait alone in the dark or directly in front of their home. When possible, riders should consider meeting an Uber driver in a well-lit area and away from their home.
- Verify the car and driver – When Uber matches a driver and a passenger, the app provides users with a recent image of the driver as well as a stock image of the driver’s vehicle. Before getting into the car, riders should make sure the vehicle matches the picture and verify the driver’s name.
- Ask the driver for your name – Before getting into an Uber, riders should ask the driver for their name to ensure that the person in the vehicle is actually an Uber driver. Riders can also ask the driver to verify their destination.
- Ride with a friend – While not always feasible, passengers should consider riding with others to avoid being alone with the driver.
- Use trip-sharing features – The Uber app allows users to share updates about their trip in real time. Users can tap “share trip status” to update their friends during the ride. This gives riders another option – aside from calls and texts – to keep in touch.
- Consider where to sit – Uber advises riders to sit in the back seat because it places more distance between them and the driver, and it also affords the rider two exits in the event of an emergency. Many prefer to sit on the passenger side because this gives the rider a good view of the driver as well as the road.
- Speak up – Before the driver takes off, riders should consider telling the driver to be safe and to follow all traffic laws. Some Uber drivers have reported driving aggressively, thinking that their passenger wants to get to their destination quickly. By telling a driver that they value their safety over their time, a passenger clears up any potential misconceptions. If a driver is using the phone – even with a hand-free device – tell them to wait until after the ride to have the conversation.
- Be a good passenger – For their own safety, Uber users should be good passengers. This includes always wearing their seatbelt and refraining from distracting the driver during the trip. Passengers should also refrain from encouraging aggressive or dangerous driving behavior.
- Keep it professional – Any information that the Uber driver needs, they can access through the Uber App. There is no need to divulge any personal information to the driver, including contact information, social media handles or the even user’s last name. 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 driver pulls up, Uber users should go with their gut and cancel the ride. Whether it be a discrepancy between the driver and his profile, the route the driver proposes or anything else, riders should not hesitate to cancel the trip if something does not feel right.
- Be careful when entering and exiting – Uber drivers may not immediately recognize a good place to pull over to pick up a passenger. Often, drivers stop in the middle of the road and many times riders must cross the street to get into the car. Not surprisingly, many Chicago Uber car accidents involve those few moments when a passenger is getting into and out of an Uber. Riders should not feel pressured to crossing the street anywhere other than designated crosswalks when a driver arrives.
- Give feedback – Leaving a review for an Uber 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 Uber directly regarding specific drivers.
These tips are a few things to keep in mind when riding with Uber. However, riders should always rely on their common sense and gut instincts when using Uber. Of course, all the common sense in the world cannot prevent some accidents. Those who have been involved in a Chicago car accident involving an Uber or been assaulted by an Uber driver should reach out to an experienced personal injury law firm for immediate assistance.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Uber 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 can help. Our attorneys represent those who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including Chicago Uber accidents. 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. As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we handle all cases on a contingency basis, which means that we will only accept payment if we are successful in getting compensation for you or your family. To learn more, call 1-877-595-4878 to schedule a free consultation today.