Ridesharing Safety Tips

by | Jun 1, 2014 | Car Accident

Ridesharing offers a different and unique way for people to get from point A to point B – instead of calling for a cab.  Oklahoma City now has several ridesharing services that provide transportation service on request, but are a bit more “tech-savvy.” Ridesharing services allow you to download apps to summon a ride, pay using an account (so you don’t need cash) and meet some interesting people along the way.  However, drivers and riders should always understand the safety risks involved.  Here’s some information about the programs and tips to keep you safe!

Oklahoma City Offers Three Ridesharing Services

Oklahoma City now offers several transportation services that act like cab companies, but in a whole different way.  Here’s a bit on each:

  1. uber_screenshotUber.  Uber differentiates itself from a taxi service as there’s no need to call a dispatcher or hail on the street. You request an “Uber ride” with the push of a button (from your app) and track your driver’s progress to your location. They notify you once your driver arrives so you can wait indoors.  Payment is billed to your credit card, PayPal account, or Google Wallet on file at the end of your trip and there’s no need to tip.  That’s it.

According to Pooneet Kant, the general manager of Uber Oklahoma City, Uber was created in 2009 after its founders couldn’t find a cab in San Francisco.  They thought that there must be a better way.  And there was.  Five years later, Uber is now in more than 100 cities and 39 countries.

So, what makes the service so unique?  According to Kant, “It’s the simplicity and seamlessness of it.  There are people who need rides and people who want to give them.  We just bring them together.”  Kant says that Uber rides are generally about 20-40% cheaper than a traditional cab ride, and many people are using the service who have cars but would rather get a ride to an event where parking might be an issue.

Asked whether safety is an issue, Kant said, “Safety is our primary concern.  Drivers go through extensive federal, state and county checks and their cars must be in good working order.  To make sure that everyone is satisfied, Uber allows riders to rate drivers – and vice versa.  We investigate any negative feedback immediately.”

  1. carsLyft.  Lyft is similar to Uber, but its drivers put big pink mustaches on the front of their cars.  Lyft describes its services as having a “friend with a car” that you can rely upon when you need a ride.  Like Uber, Lyft allows you contact a driver with the push of a button, get to where you want to go and pay without the need to carry your wallet.  It also provides a rating system similar to Uber.
  1. GetAroundOKGetAroundOK.  While Uber and Lyft provide similar services, GetAroundOK promotes alternative transportation options including biking, public transportation, carpooling and even walking.  The company connects you with others who are in search of a “buddy” to share whatever form of commuting suits you. If you’re looking for a “walking buddy” or a “carpooling buddy” to make the commute a bit more interesting, they can hook you up with others looking for the same.  They can also provide you with the best routes to take for whatever commuting option works best for you.
  2. eRideShare.com. eRideShare.com offers a national online ridesharing board that safely connects carpoolers and drivers. Oklahoma commuters can post their own listing and also search for daily routes around cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City. In addition, eRideShare members are able to find long-distance carpooling opportunities, which is great for college students visiting family and friends out of state.

Regardless of what type of ride you’re looking for, make sure that the company you use values your safety and has done everything it can to ensure it.

Always Keep Safety in Mind

While statistics show that carpooling is safe and eco-friendly, it’s important to keep your own personal safety in mind regardless of whether you’re the driver, the rider or a “buddy.”  Here are tips for carpoolers and ridesharers:

  • If you are planning to carpool with people you don’t know, schedule an initial meeting to get acquainted without obligating yourself to do it. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone, don’t do it. Trust your instincts!
  • Make sure to tell friends who you’re carpooling with and let them know your general schedule.
  • Once a carpooling option is fairly steady, consider exchanging emergency contact or medical information with other carpoolers.
  • Although ridesharing services have already vetted drivers, make sure to let them know if something just doesn’t feel right so they can address the issue quickly.

Carpooling and ridesharing are clearly becoming popular choices to save money, be more eco-friendly and social.  However, it’s important to keep in mind that, just like riding in any car, anyone who’s been involved in a ridesharing car accident in which someone else’s negligence was the cause of their injuries may be entitled to compensation.