But even though ride-hailing drivers have been vetted by their companies, which have a powerful interest being safe and reliable, the fact remains that drivers and riders are usually strangers to one another. Riders especially should follow some basic tips to maximize personal safety:
- Wait indoors
- Waiting for a ride inside protects from weather as well as from other strangers and can give the opportunity to verify the arriving ride-hail vehicle from a safe place.
2. Verify the driver and car
- Make sure the driver's photo and the license plate, color, make and model of the car match what's in the app.
- Ask the driver the name of the rider he or she is supposed to pick up.
- Some apps have extra measures to confirm the car and driver are legitimate and the right one for the ride; use them.
3. Share your ride details with friends or family
- Use any share features within the apps to send the estimated time of arrival, ride status and details to people you know.
- If that feature isn't available, take a quick photo of the car and license plate with your phone and send it to a friend or family.
- If you do engage with friends or family this way, check in after and let them know you completed your ride safely.
4. Go in a group
- Just like walking, riding can be safer in numbers.
- Splitting the ride can also save money.
- Most services have options for sharing or pooling rides if you don't already have a group of friends.
5. Follow your gut
- If the ride doesn't feel safe, don't get in.
- If something unsafe happens during the ride, call 911 immediately.
6. Sit in the back
- This creates personal space for riders and drivers.
- It lets you exit through either back door to avoid obstacles or moving traffic.
7. Follow the ride on your own maps app
- Keep an eye on your trip progress on a map app on your phone during the ride, and be aware of any odd turns or changes to the route. Ask your driver to explain, and follow your gut on whether you should ask to get out, or even call 911.
8. Keep details private
- Ride-hailing apps anonymize phone numbers and other personal details; don't offer these to drivers in conversation — especially details about where you live, your travel plans or contact information.
9. Rate your driver and check ratings
- After your ride, rate your driver in the app.
- When requesting a ride, check the driver's rating before accepting.
10. Consider the options
- Some students may be used to ride-hailing services, but plenty of other options with outstanding safety and no per-ride cost to students are available around campus: Lane Transit District, the Access Shuttle from UO Parking and Transportation for anyone with mobility challenges, and other UO-operated programs like Safe Ride and the Designated Driver Shuttle and the UO Campus Shuttle.