Rideshare options are growing across the country as an easy means of travel, whether for a ride from an airport to a hotel, or as a safe ride home after a night out with some friends. However, there have been numerous stories in the news in recent months about riders being sexually assaulted, raped or even recently, killed by the drivers of the cars. You should not be afraid to use these rideshare options, but rather be cautious when getting in the car with someone that you don’t know. There are few safety tips to keep in mind when using a rideshare option.
Check the driver rating on the app. If there have been issues in the past with the driver the rating and reviews will say so. If the rating and reviews are bad, then cancel the ride and order a different or find another way home.
Always verify the driver and make and model of the car before getting in as well as verify the picture of the driver matches the person driving the car. Uber and Lyft apps give you the make, model and license plate of the car you will be getting into as well as the driver’s name. When you see a car approaching, check the license plate on the back and ask the driver for their name.
After Samantha Josephson was killed, the president of the University of South Carolina, Harris Pastides, shared an Op-ed on the situation and provided some insight into these rideshare options. The family of Josephson and others have started a trending “What’s My Name?” campaign as a way to increase the safety of riders using the rideshare options available. If you order an Uber or Lyft, ask the driver “what’s my name?”, if the driver does not know the answer, do not get into the car.
Ride with a friend, especially if you have been drinking and may have had too much to drink. Having someone there who can look out for your best interests can help keep you safe. If you have to ride alone, ride in the backseat. This allows easy access to two doors should you feel the need to get out of the car at any moment in time. This also gives more distance between you and the driver.
Share your trip details with a friend. With Uber, a friend or family member can see all the information about the driver and receive an ETA on your arrival. Using this feature ensures that someone else knows where you are and where you are going.
Follow your gut feeling. If something feels wrong, then don’t get into the car. If you are already in the car and you feel that something isn’t right, tell someone that you trust and if you feel that the situation is an emergency, call 911. You can also ask to be dropped off at a nearby safe location.
If the rideshare option scares you because of the stories in the news, UGA has a program that offers free rides home on Thursday and Friday nights from downtown. This program is called Designated Dawgs. You can show up to Wells Fargo between 11pm and 2:15am on the nights they are operating and get a free, non-judgmental ride home.
We want you to have fun, but more importantly to be safe in Athens.