By: Melody Rabor-Dizon
Like the rest of us in the world we live in now, at a touch of button, we can practically find a ride somewhere from someone through the popular app called Uber and Lyft. I always say, how smart! The guy never had to buy a car or lend his car to anyone yet the inventor is able to take people to places and make a fortune out of it. Millenials, I tell you. But given those comfort at an instant’s notice, it doesn’t also give way to give up the basics of safety either. So for everyone’s protection, we cannot be too secure that though how easy things come, safety is a whole other topic that we cannot not address each and every single time. And no it is not not Uber, nor Lyft nor anybody’s fault. We have a responsibility as well on our part to make.
This came about at the advent of the death of a South Carolinian college girl who requested an Uber at 2am coming from a bar at a popular nightlife locale. Footage shows she got in a car when it pulled in front of her thinking it was her ride only to find out it was her abductor’s getaway vehicle. Next day she was found dead.
Here are tips from safety expert to follow:
Request your ride inside
Personal safety expert and owner of Sabre Security Equipment Corporation, David Nance, advises that you request your ride while you’re still inside the venue you’re leaving, which will likely be well-lit with other people around, so a predator won’t try anything. He states that, “If you’re standing outside on the street distracted by your phone, you’re likely not paying attention to what’s going on around you—and someone could easily catch you off guard and grab your purse, your phone, or worse, grab and assault you”.
Match the car (and driver) to the info on the app
Before you open the door, make sure the license plate and the car’s make, model, and color match what it says on the app, Nance says. Now, here’s a trick: Before getting in, ask the driver for their name— rather than just saying, ‘Hey, is this for Sam?’ If you give your own name, the driver could simply play along and say, ‘Yep, this is for Sam,’ even if it’s not.
Sit in the back seat
“Distance between yourself and the driver is a good thing,” Nance says. It not only means you have more space, but also that you can safely exit on either side of the car when and if you need to. Remember, this is a stranger. There’s no reason to sit in the front seat like you would with a friend.
Share your trip with someone
Both Uber and Lyft give you the option to share your ride with others. On Uber, you’ll click “share status,” and on Lyft, you’ll click “send ETA.” The friend or family member you add will be able to see your location and your ETA, as well as information about the driver and the car. It’s always a good idea to share your trip with at least one other person, and tell your friends to do the same. If someone is leaving the bar early, the others should be able to see that they get home safe.
Don’t give the driver personal info
As friendly as the driver may seem, never give out any personal information, Nance says. If you’re traveling, it can be easy to fall into a conversation about where you’re staying, what you’re planning on doing, and who you’re doing it with, but your driver doesn’t need to know any of that. It’s totally fine to chat, but make the conversation about something vague and simple, like the weather.
Be prepared for the worst case scenario
No need to be scared every time you get into an Uber, but it’s smart to be aware of what to do if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. If your driver is taking you somewhere other than your destination, Nance suggests trying to get the attention of other drivers or pedestrians. Roll down the window and yell for help. If it’s locked, wave frantically to people through the window. It’s also smart to carry something you can use to protect yourself, like pepper spray or gel. And finally, don’t hesitate to call 911 if you think you’re in danger. You can also push a few buttons on your iPhone to alert your emergency contacts with a text message and your location.
Will it stop you from every riding a ride-share app? It shouldn’t, because safety applies just about everything in life. Always be aware, be on guard, know what to do, have a back up plan and update your ICE (in case of emergency) contact list on your phone. There will always be someone out there who may want to hurt but there are more people who wants to help and who wants to make this place a better world to live in. Stay safe, mga kapatid.