The gig economy and in particular ridesharing has presented unique opportunities for people to make money while also enjoying a sense of freedom and being their own boss. If you’re looking for extra cash and you decide that being a rideshare driver is right for you, what should you know about keeping yourself safe and protected?
The following are some simple but effective ways to protect yourself and stay safe as a rideshare driver.
Make Sure You’re Properly Insured
If you do decide to become a rideshare driver, the major companies Uber and Lyft typically offer some level of insurance coverage, but it’s important to make sure you’re aware of the rideshare insurance requirements in your city and state.
You might want to check with your personal insurance company and make sure there are no exclusions or anything that could leave you without coverage if an accident did happen. In some states, this might require you have some level of commercial insurance.
Be An Aware Driver
Being a rideshare driver can get stressful at certain times, particularly since you’re mostly going to be driving at night or in high-traffic active areas.
It’s important that you are always focused on your driving, and it can be a good idea to make passengers get in the backseat because it will help you stay attentive to your driving.
Choose Passengers Carefully
There’s a reason rideshare apps like Uber use passenger and driver ratings, so take them seriously. If someone has anything below a 4.7, it can be a good idea to use caution before picking them up.
Of course, one bad driver interaction shouldn’t be enough for you to avoid a passenger, but look for warning signs in ratings and take them seriously.
You may have to pass on some passengers if you’re not sure you get a good feeling from looking at their rating.
Also, if you’re particularly concerned about your safety, you might want to choose daytime driving hours rather than the late nights. You might not make as much money, but you’re also not putting yourself in a risky situation because of intoxicated passengers.
When you’re about to pick up passengers, you can have them confirm their name before getting into the car to make sure they’re the person you see on the app, especially if you’re picking them in in a crowded place.
It’s also better in terms of safety if you don’t give people rides outside of the rideshare system you’re using. If people try to pay you with cash, you’re violating the policy of your rideshare company, and you’re also putting yourself in a risky situation.
Consider a Dashboard Camera
If you work primarily late night driving shifts, you might want to consider getting a small dashboard camera. The thing about a dashboard camera is that it doesn’t even necessarily need to be recording to provide you with some level of extra safety. Just knowing that it’s there can help ensure passengers are on good behavior.
Have Passengers Buckle Up
There are a few different reasons you should ask your passengers to fasten their seatbelt when they’re in your car. First, it’s safe for them, and it’s the law. Also, if someone is in a seatbelt, it does hinder their reach somewhat if they did try to do something to you.
You can also get a warning if they’re going to do something unexpected if you hear their seatbelt coming off.
Finally, even when your passengers are out of line or downright rude, it’s best to avoid being aggressive, particularly if drinking is involved. You should try to keep situations de-escalated as tough as it can be.
If you’re worried about drunk passengers, you might want just to avoid engaging in too much conversation with them at all, since they might become irrational. Just make sure you’re focusing on driving and try to avoid being dragged into anything that’s going on in the backseat.
Rideshare companies like Uber do offer some tips for dealing with difficult passengers. They have community guidelines that instruct everyone how to show respect for one another, but there are also options that drivers can use to contact the company and report passengers who didn’t act appropriately.