By: EUGENE HERBERT
In the coming months people might start relying on ride-sharing services like Uber or Bolt. This may be to save on insurance and car maintenance or because they might be going into the office less often. This creates a number of safety challenges that users need to consider.
There are certain things people can do to protect themselves when using ride-sharing vehicles.
Whether you are waiting for a driver at your home, the office or a shop, find a safe place to wait. Most ride-sharing apps indicate when the driver is nearby, making the need to wait outside in the street or in an unprotected area unnecessary.
When your driver does arrive, there are a number of ways to ensure that it is the correct person. You should have the driver’s name, photo, vehicle registration and the make and colour of the vehicle. Check all of these details against the actual person that arrives, never just assume you have the right driver.”
These are not the only things you can do to protect your safety. Another example is to put your bag in the boot which gives you an opportunity to check if there is anyone hiding there. You can also phone someone (even if you are just pretending, failing the real alternative) and tell them that you are on your way in a ride-sharing vehicle. This could deter someone who did have nefarious intentions.
You should also open your GPS on your phone or open the ride-sharing app if it has a GPS function to track your movement, and follow the route the driver takes. If you see the driver diverting from the route, you can quickly react and call for help before the driver even knows that you know. If the ride-sharing app allows you to share your trip with a selected contact, always do this.
In the current world climate, something else you need to be aware of is COVID-19 safety procedures. Before you get in the car check that it has been properly sanitised. Likewise, make sure you sanitise your own hands properly before getting in the car. Other safety protocols include keeping the windows open and sitting in the back on the opposite side to the driver in the backseat, even if the driver invites you to sit in the front.”
Eugene Herbert is The Managing Director of MasterDrive, SA