Ride Sharing Safety

By Thom Bolsch and Ron Mullins

It is a tragedy that has been on broadcast news and social media for weeks.  A young woman coordinates a ride share, but instead of getting into the ride share vehicle, she gets into the car of the man that will eventually kill her.

Although such incidents have recently been making the circles on all media outlets, they are not uncommon; and are not new!

It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman.  It doesn’t matter if you’re jumping into a ride share vehicle or a car pool vehicle.  Any encounter with a stranger can lead to an unexpected outcome.  Generally, not violence; however…

What should you do to protect yourself if you are going to use a ride share program?

I know it seems out of date; but if you call a taxi, verify the markings on the car match the service you called.  Validate the driver’s license is displayed and is legitimate.  Agree upon the expected charge prior to entering the vehicle.

Most ride sharing apps will provide you with a description of the vehicle, the name of the driver and will track the vehicle on a map that you can follow.  Additionally, some display the license plate to help you verify your service.

A recent feature on one of the ride share programs; is service tracking.  You can set up a text number of someone you trust that will receive a notification when you enter the program vehicle and will provide an additional notification when your trip is complete.  This is a lot like flight following in aviation; and we recommend all men and women, when out solo for either work or pleasure, engage in a “flight following” program with a trusted friend.

Once you enter the vehicle, there are a few suggestions we offer to help you remain safe and secure.  First: keep your personal items with you in the cab of the vehicle.  If you have to bolt from a less then comfortable situation; you don’t want to be leaving important possessions in the trunk of the car as it speeds away.  Second: once in the car with the car door closed, make sure you can open the door from the inside (close, then open the door) verify the child lock is not engaged.  Third: sit behind the driver.  From behind the driver, they can’t “eye-ball” you; and you are in a position of leverage if you have to take action should you find yourself rushing past your destination or heading to a destination not of your choosing.

A few other considerations…

If you know you’ll be drinking while out, plan ahead for your transportation. Coordinate a ride with a designated driver, have someone with you that you trust confirm your program service and see you into the vehicle; and use the service tracking program on the app.  You should also have an idea of the route from where you are to where you are going; and be cautious of alternative short cuts.  It goes without saying; carry small bills.  A twenty-five dollar fair offers a great tip if all you have is a one hundred dollar bill and the driver informs you that they don’t have change!

Take advantage of someone else driving; but be aware of your circumstances and situation.  With proper planning, your trip will be rewarding and uneventful.


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Be Aware, Be Safe.

© Copyright 2019 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

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