Know before you go: Uber/Lyft Safety Tips
Over the weekend, a University of South Carolina student was murdered after she mistakenly got into a car that she thought was her Uber ride.
Situations similar to that of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson happen more often than you would think. Although they don’t always end in tragedy, people get into the wrong Uber or Lyft almost every day, even right here on the Gulf Coast. Uber/Lyft Driver Joseph Vaughn said, “We’ve had instances even when it’s busy where people just jump in the car thinking ‘well, I was supposed to get into a red car and his name happens to be the same name,’ but we actually have mix-ups where you just need to verify with the person that this is where your destination is going and verify their names and who they are.”
Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have seen an increase in customers over the past few years, with nearly 36 percent of all U.S. adults saying they have used services like Uber or Lyft. Chris De Back with Biloxi Police Department said, “We are seeing a lot more Ubers and Lyfts and both companies have security offices. They do background checks on all of their drivers.”
Before you just hop in your Uber or Lyft make sure you check the license plate to make sure it matches the one on the app and also make sure you ask your driver what their name is and the name of the person they are supposed to be picking up. Lyft Driver Jason Hill said, “Just make sure the person you are getting in the car with is the one that the app shows you. Anybody could tell you ‘yeah, I’m that person.’ So you have to make sure the pictures match the face. If it doesn’t you are getting in the wrong car.”
If you go on Uber’s app, they also suggest sitting in the backseat so you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle in case of an emergency. “Well, with anything you should always be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are alone. If you are going to be picked up don’t do it on some side street. Try to be picked up at an open business or somewhere that is well populated.”
Another tip from Uber is always share your trip details with a friend so someone knows where you are at all times.