An unsuspecting college student got into a car she thought was her Uber, and ended up dead in a field. She was separated from her roommates during a night out, called an uber to find them, and it was a deadly mistake.
This sounds like a crazy scenario that could never happen, yet it did, and here’s what you (and your college aged kids) need to know about staying safe when you Uber.
For starters, try not to get into an Uber alone. Especially at night. This sounds like common sense, but as we start to accept Uber more and more into our every day lives, we forget that the people driving Uber are for the most part complete strangers. Yes they are background checked, but you are literally getting into a moving vehicle with a complete stranger.
That stranger could take you anywhere on the planet. Try to ride with someone else you know.
Sometimes riding with friends isn’t possible, and you have to get inside an Uber alone. You need to be extra cautious if you take an Uber alone.
What can you do to stay safe if you have to take an Uber alone?
Don’t get into the back seat. Child locks can keep you in the back seat if something goes down, and if you’re alone there is no reason for you to ride in the back seat.
If the Uber driver is weird about this, just say you get car sick in the back. Trust me, they don’t want you to blow chunks in their car.
Check the Uber driver’s license plate number to make sure it’s your Uber. Their license plate number pops up right on your app. Just do a quick double check to make sure it’s yours.
If you want to be really cautious you can ask them to show you their phone, it will have your name assigned to them as well.
Call someone and stay on the phone with them. I don’t care who you call. It could be your mom, your best friend, your best friends mom, hell it could even be me.
If you are on the phone with someone while you’re in the Uber, it’s just an extra added level of security. If something happens, then someone knows you need to be helped RIGHT AWAY. Not hours later.
This doesn’t even have to be a big conversation. You could just call someone and sit with them on the phone. It’s no big deal.
Send someone your location. Let someone know where you are, and let them track you. Uber actually offers this right in their app, but you can also just use your phone to share your location, too.
This is an easy way for someone to see that you arrive safely where you are going.
Don’t arrive at an empty dark house. I know this can’t always be helped, but it never hurts to mention your roommates or other people that live with you to the Uber driver. Even if you have to make them up.
“My roommates are probably already asleep. They’re such early risers.” Is a really simple way to make it seem like people live at your house even if they don’t.
Watch your route. If you are unfamiliar with your surroundings because you’re traveling, etc. then pull up your destination in your map app and make sure you are at least headed in the general direction of where you want to go.
Your Uber driver may know a faster route, they do drive professionally after all, but they shouldn’t be going too far out of the way to get you to where you need to go.
The key to staying safe in an Uber is being aware of your surroundings. Many times people get into an Uber after a few drinks or when they are too tired to drive themselves, but it’s still important to pay attention to what is going on around you.
Stay safe. Have fun. And take care of yourself!