Being a rideshare driver is, for the most part, a laid-back, comfortable job. For riders, it's is easy to use with a pickup at your fingertips.
Specifically, Uber requires passengers to pay with their debit or credit cards, which ultimately cuts down on robberies. There are also rules in place that ensure drivers are safe while on the job.
While ALL rideshare company drivers should take these precautions, women should especially follow them because the job itself is a one-man, or one-woman show. Drivers are often alone when going to pick up their riders and can sometimes find themselves in dangerous and isolated environments at different times of the day. Put simply, they deal with the good, bad and the ugly.
For the first time, I had a female Uber driver pick me up to take me to the airport. During the ride, my driver starting telling me what it's like to be a woman in the industry. Having never been harassed or felt her safety threatened, she told me she generally feels safe, considering she works a day shift. But she was quick to share stories about some strangely interesting folks she's picked up before! My driver claimed to generally enjoy her job, but she did caution that no matter what time of the day, no driver should go to a place they aren't comfortable going. And if something seems off, leave the area immediately, especially if you work overnight!
Ladies, consider these tips straight from a fellow female driver:
- Stay Alert. Keep a close eye on your surroundings. Be vigilant, especially during third shifts. Don't get too caught up in your music! If you don't feel safe, leave the area. Avoid alley roads and desolate back roads. If your riders are bothering you or giving you strange vibes, keep calm and don't make too much contact. Drop them off and don't leave the car. Trust your instincts. Only take your rider to their initial destination. Don't let them convince you to drop them off at a secondary location along the way.
- Carry with you an empty purse and wallet. This comes in handy if your rider gives you trouble or you find yourself on the verge of being robbed. Even though some ride-share companies are cashless, this can still happen.
- Keep your doors locked. Wait until the passenger is waiting to be let in.
- Let your family and friends know your whereabouts and each time you change destinations. This way if something happens, your loved ones will at least have a place to tell the police to help get you out of trouble.
- Communicate with your riders, but keep it simple. If things start to become heated or aggressive, tone it down a notch and speak to your riders with respect and positive words.
- Know your car. Make sure it has been inspected and your lights, brakes, emission system and engine radiator are all in check. You never know if you'll need to take off quickly.
Sarah Francis is a half-Palestinian journalism junkie, a proud Charlotte, NC native with an oversized sweet tooth, and an active world traveler. Ask her where she's headed next. (@Sarah_Francis25)