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 April 07, 2022

8 Tips for Rideshare Drivers to Protect Themselves

Man looking at camera driving car

Passenger attacked driver over canceled rideshare

A rideshare driver captured a disturbing video on his dashcam while driving one March night in southern Los Angeles – after arguing about a canceled ride, his passenger repeatedly attacked him.

The driver received a request to pick the passenger up, waited for several minutes, and canceled when the rider didn’t show. A few minutes later, the same customer requested another ride.

The driver circled back, picked him up, and the rider quickly got aggressive. When the driver asked him to leave, he started punching the driver, who then got out of the car and ran away. The rider then took his keys, ripped out of the wiring in his vehicle and took his cell phone.

After contacting the rideshare service, the driver hasn’t heard anything back and thinks the passenger should face legal charges. He also believes there should be more protection in place for drivers.

Rideshare drivers risk a lot on the road

Unfortunately, this is far from the first time something like this has happened. Rideshare drivers consistently report instances of violent passengers and other challenges – moving violations, accidents and vehicle damage, and IRS tax issues.

Safety should be a top priority as a driver, but how can you avoid a dangerous situation? How should you protect yourself?

8 tips to protect yourself behind the wheel

While you can’t predict who’s going to get in your car, you can and should do everything possible to protect yourself physically and legally if an incident occurs. Here are 8 things every rideshare driver should do:

1. Install a dashcam

Without proof of an incident, it can turn into a “your word versus theirs” situation. Dashcams can be the eyes and ears of what’s happening in the car. It may be wise to install a dashcam with a dual-lens, which displays a front and inside view.

2. Request passengers sit in the back

You never know if someone means harm, and the closer they are to you, the easier it is for them to harm you or get access to the wheel. You can still be a professional, friendly driver with a healthy distance between you and the passenger.

3. Don’t give out personal information

Don’t tell any stranger where you live or dole out any personal contact information. They could contact you on the app if they need to get in touch with you because they left behind something in your car.

4. Verify your passenger’s identity

Before the passenger enters the car, roll down your window and ask them to verify their name and code. Rideshare companies like Uber have a new feature where they will send a four-digit pin code to the rider. The rider will tell the driver their pin code, the driver can enter it into the app, and if everything matches up, the ride is verified.

5. Always follow guidelines

Even if the rider is in a rush and requests you to speed or break the rules, remember that it’s your driving record on the line. Explain to the rider that you must follow rideshare safety policies and guidelines.

6. Consider having a safety kit

It’s crucial to be prepared for anything that can happen on the road. Consider having a hidden safety kit with emergency cash, a first aid kit, wiper fluid, jumper cables, snacks, a whistle, and even self-protection such as pepper spray.

However, always double check with the company you work for what’s allowed in the car because rules differ. For example, Uber allows drivers to carry non-lethal self-protection tools like pepper spray as long as they are legal according to state laws, but Lyft does not. Uber regulates how these tools are used, so make sure you brush up on their guidelines.

7. Have an emergency plan

Consider what you would do if you found yourself in a dangerous situation like this driver. He did the right thing by pulling over, getting out of the car and running to somewhere public. Always alert the police when you’re in imminent danger and try to attract attention to your situation by yelling or blowing a whistle.

8. Get legal protection

Unfortunately, this type of incident occurs often as rideshare transportation has become the new norm, and it’s essential to have legal support in your back pocket. Protect your driving record, receive consultation on taxes, and receive defense in court for moving violations or accidents by accessing a lawyer’s support.

Learn more about rideshare & delivery driver legal protection

If you’re a rideshare or delivery driver, you know how important it is to maintain a clean driving record and get legal advice when you need it. This story is just one example of why it’s critical to have protection and support. Learn more about LegalShield’s Rideshare and Delivery Driver supplement.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be a third-party paid contributor. All information by authors is accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.


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