Rideshare services can be a great way to get around during the holidays, and according to Lyft and The New York Times, 99% of rides end safely. Unfortunately, the potential for car accidents always exists, and rideshare companies have been associated with traffic fatalities, assaults, and even murders.
To keep you safe during the holiday season, the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli has compiled some rideshare safety tips below:
Before You Get in the Car
When possible, wait indoors until you receive the notification that your driver has arrived. If you must wait outside, wait in a busy, well-lit area. Before getting in the car, verify that the license plate matches the one in your app.
Instead of offering your name, ask the driver: “who are you here for?”
Criminals sometimes pose as Uber and Lyft drivers, but they won’t have your name unless they get it from the app.
A Note About Riding Impaired
If you are extremely tired, drunk, or under the influence of drugs, taking a rideshare is safer than driving, and in many cases, safer than walking home. Nevertheless, you still need to be careful and alert, as these impairments can make you more vulnerable.
Stay with the host until you can sober up if possible, and if not, ask a sober friend to ride with you. If you end up riding alone, take advantage of the app’s security features.
In the Uber app, for instance, there is an option to share your ride information with friends and family. Enable this security feature for greater peace of mind. If you send your impaired friend home in an Uber or Lyft, check in with them to make sure they get home safely.
Trust Your Gut
If you feel unsafe at any point during an Uber or Lyft ride, ask the driver to pull over and get out. Report the unsafe behavior to the rideshare company right away and call 911 if you feel you are in immediate danger. Uber and Lyft have both added panic buttons to their apps, so do not hesitate to use this safety feature if you need it.
Remember, rideshare drivers can be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted, or aggressive behind the wheel. If something feels wrong, trust your gut and exit the situation.
Call 911 or use the panic button if your driver is speeding and refusing to slow down, stops following the directions to your destination, refuses to pull over when you ask, or refuses to let you out of the car.
What If My Driver Gets into an Accident?
Most Uber and Lyft drivers are decent people just trying to do their jobs, but everyone is vulnerable to car crashes. Always wear your seatbelt, and if your rideshare driver gets into an accident while you are in the car, stay calm, stay at the scene, and collect all the information the driver does. Don’t assume Uber or Lyft will give you your driver’s information, after the fact.
Talk to the police, ask for a copy of the police report, and exchange numbers with everyone who was involved in the accident, including your rideshare driver, the other driver, any passengers, and anyone who witnessed the crash. Make sure to get your driver’s insurance information, as well, as Uber and Lyft’s insurance policies only kick in after you have exhausted your driver’s personal policy.
After you get all the information you need, seek medical attention – even if you are traveling. You may have injuries you haven’t noticed yet, and medical records will be important for any insurance claim or personal injury case you choose to file later on.
Can I Avoid Rideshare Accidents?
The best way to avoid rideshare accidents is to exit the vehicle if your driver is not keeping safety in mind behind the wheel. Otherwise, you are not operating the vehicle, so there’s not much you can do, especially if another driver hits your Uber or Lyft while drunk or distracted.
Riding as a passenger requires a great deal of trust, and you should be able to trust Uber and Lyft to keep you safe and handle accidents well.
If rideshare companies fail to ensure your safety or compensate you for your injuries, you can sue them, and the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli can help. Attorney Gueli has more than 20 years of legal experience and he is available 24/7 to take your call – during the holidays and at all other times.
Discuss your situation with us during a free consultation – call us at (516) 628-6402 or contact us online to get started right away.