In the fast-paced world of ride-sharing services, Uber has become a household name, revolutionizing the way we commute. While the convenience and accessibility of Uber are undeniable, it is essential to prioritize safety when using the platform. Below, the Uber sexual assault lawyers at Kherkher Garcia provide a comprehensive guide on how to stay safe when using Uber. Whether you are a rider or a driver, these tips and best practices can help ensure your safety throughout your Uber experience.
Why is Uber Safety Such a Concern?
Safety when using Uber is a major concern across the United States due to a large number of complaints from drivers and riders regarding inappropriate and criminal behavior. Primarily, Uber has been facing a growing number of assault claims in recent years. In 2019, the company released its first US Safety Report, which showed that it had received 5,981 reports of sexual assault on its platform in the two previous years.
In 2022, Uber released its second report, which showed that it had received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault and misconduct between 2019 and 2020. The reports include allegations of:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- False imprisonment
These reports suggest that it is primarily riders who come forward alleging that drivers committed these heinous acts. In many cases, the victims have filed lawsuits against Uber, alleging that the company failed to protect them from assault.
Because of these, and similar, allegations, safety while using Uber has become an ever-increasing concern. At Kherkher Garcia, we want Uber users to be as safe and aware as possible. That’s why our Uber sexual assault lawyers have created this guide. As always, if you have questions, contact us right away.
Stay Safe When Using Uber
Uber has transformed the way we travel. However, ensuring safety should always be a top priority when using the platform. By following these tips and best practices, you can enjoy the benefits of Uber while minimizing potential risks and staying safe throughout your journey:
Verify Your Driver
Before entering an Uber vehicle, always confirm the driver’s identity and the car’s details. Here’s how:
- Check the License Plate: The Uber app provides you with the driver’s name, photo, and the vehicle’s make and model. Ensure that the license plate of the car matches the information provided in the app.
- Ask for the Driver’s Name: Approach the vehicle and ask the driver for their name. A legitimate Uber driver will know your name as well.
- Use the Uber App: Communicate with your driver through the app’s messaging feature. Avoid sharing personal information like your phone number until you are certain of your driver’s legitimacy.
Never accept a ride from a driver who is not listed on your Uber app. Refuse any unsolicited ride offers, as they may not be legitimate.
Wait in a Safe Location
While waiting for your Uber ride, prioritize your safety. Here are some tips and best practices for staying safe while waiting for an Uber ride:
- Wait Indoors: Whenever possible, wait inside a populated building rather than on a dimly lit street. This reduces the risk of encountering potential threats.
- Wait in a Well-Lit Area: Whenever possible, wait in a well-lit and populated area. Avoid dimly lit or secluded places, especially at night.
- Share Your Trip: Use the Uber app’s “Share My Trip” feature to let friends or family members track your ride in real-time. It’s an extra layer of security.
- Stay Alert: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings while waiting. Avoid distractions like using your phone excessively, listening to loud music, or wearing headphones that may prevent you from hearing important sounds.
Travel with Friends
Whenever you can, opt for shared rides or travel with friends. There is safety in numbers, and having someone with you can deter potential wrongdoers. This is especially important during late hours, in unfamiliar areas, or if you are intoxicated.
Sit in the Back Seat
When you get into the Uber vehicle, sit in the back seat. This gives you some distance from the driver and can enhance your safety. Sitting in the back seat of an Uber is considered the safest seating position for several reasons:
- Personal space
- Physical barrier
- Exit accessibility
- Reduced distractions
It is important to note that while sitting in the back seat is generally considered safer, the overall safety of your Uber ride depends on a combination of factors.
Keep Personal Information Private
Uber drivers don’t need your phone number or other personal information. Avoid sharing such details with them. Never give your Uber driver information, such as:
- Telephone number
- Home address
- Credit card information
- Bank information
All communication should go through the Uber app.
Trust Your Instincts
If something does not feel right, trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a ride, do not hesitate to ask the driver to stop at a well-lit, public place, or end the trip prematurely. Your safety should always be your top priority.
Use Uber’s Emergency Features
Uber has integrated safety features into its app. If you feel unsafe at any time, use the following features in the app:
- Emergency Button: If you feel threatened or unsafe during a ride, you can use the emergency button in the app to call 911 directly. Uber also provides your real-time location to the dispatcher.
- In-App Chat: Uber has an in-app chat feature that allows you to communicate with the driver without sharing your phone number.
- Report Safety Concerns: If you encounter any safety concerns or if your driver’s behavior makes you uncomfortable during the ride, report it to Uber immediately through the app’s safety features.
Be Cautious with Alcohol
If you have been drinking, be extra cautious when using Uber. Make sure that a friend or family member is aware that you are taking an Uber, and have them on standby in case of an emergency. Ideally, if you have been drinking, never travel alone.
- Share Your Location: Use the app’s shareable trip feature with a friend or family member. This way, someone knows where you are and where you’re heading.
- Stay Alert: Alcohol impairs judgment. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Rate Your Driver
Uber encourages riders to rate their drivers. If you ever feel uncomfortable or experience an issue during your ride, be sure to rate accordingly and provide feedback. This helps Uber maintain a safer community.
Safety Tips for Uber Drivers
Uber drivers also play a significant role in ensuring safety. They can also be targeted by passengers or other parties for sexual assault or other misconduct. Here are some tips for drivers to stay safe and aware:
Verify Your Passengers
Just as riders should verify their drivers, drivers should also verify their passengers. Always confirm the rider’s name before starting the trip.
Maintain a professional and courteous demeanor throughout the ride. Avoid personal conversations that could make either party uncomfortable.
Follow the GPS
Use the GPS provided by the Uber app to navigate. Avoid taking unfamiliar routes that may cause concern for riders.
Keep the Vehicle Clean and Safe
Maintain a clean and well-maintained vehicle. Ensure that safety features like seatbelts are functional.
Avoid Cash Transactions
Uber transactions are typically cashless. Avoid accepting cash from riders to prevent disputes and potential safety issues.
Know When to Cancel a Trip
If a rider is being disrespectful or exhibiting unruly behavior, you have the right to cancel the trip and report the incident to Uber. Some examples of when it is time to cancel a trip include:
- Rider safety concerns
- Inappropriate behavior
- Unaccompanied minors
- Excessive luggage
- Communication issues
- Inability to identify the rider
It is important for Uber drivers to exercise good judgment and prioritize safety and professionalism when considering canceling a trip.
Trust Your Instincts
If something feels off about a rider or a situation, trust your instincts. Your safety is paramount.
Use Uber’s Safety Features
As a driver, familiarize yourself with Uber’s safety features, such as the in-app emergency button, and be ready to use them if necessary. Remember that safety is a shared responsibility, and both riders and drivers play essential roles in maintaining a secure and trustworthy ride-sharing environment.
Get Help from an Uber Sexual Assault Lawyer
Experiencing something like assault or harassment is traumatic and it can be difficult to make the decision to come forward. However, you should know that you are not alone, and you do not have to pursue justice alone. At Kherkher Garcia, our team of Uber sexual assault lawyers have helped numerous assault and harassment victims obtain the justice they deserve.
If you are a victim of assault, harassment, or other misconduct involving Uber, we can help you, as well. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights, and your ability to potentially recover compensation for the harm you have suffered.
Call us at 713-333-1030, or complete our online contact form. Your call and/or email is completely confidential.
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