Recently, movie maker Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn (named for the Batman cartoon character) had a nasty scare. She had called an Uber to give her a lift. A car pulled up – it had the Uber insignia in the front window, but there were two guys in the car, and they spotted Harley. The driver told her to get in the car, they needed to get going.
Thankfully, she was smart and followed the recommended steps that Uber gives when getting a ride. She asked the men for their name, and the name of the rider that had called them – the app will always tell the driver the name of the rider, and will give the name of the driver to the rider. They tried to bluff through and still get her in the car. Thankfully Harley was able to get away safely, but that is very creepy!
So if your teen is going to get an Uber ride, there are many safeguards in place with the system – make sure they follow them to be sure they get a safe ride.
- The app should let them know when their ride is close. If someone pulls up while the app still says their ride is 10 minutes away, they need to verify further. (Sometimes the app does run slow if the cell network is overloaded, but it’s fairly reliable.)
- They shouldn’t ask “are you (driver’s name)?”. Ask “What’s your name?” and “Who are you here for?”. The app will tell the driver the right name. If they can’t give the right name, don’t get in the car.
- The app will tell you the name of the driver, the make/model of the car, and the license plate number. If something doesn’t match up, don’t get in.
- Uber has a strict policy of not allowing the driver to bring passengers along when picking up a fare. If there is a person in the car besides the driver, don’t get in. They’re either fakes or breaking the rules – either way, it’s not worth the risk.
- Check the gut – if the driver is making you nervous for any reason, back out. If they’re the real driver, cancel the ride through the app. If you’re not sure, cancel anyway. It’s worth the $5 cancellation fee any day to feel safe.
- Even when it’s a legitimate Uber ride, never feel bad about reporting the driver for ANYTHING that makes you uncomfortable during the ride. Uber rides should be cashless, paid through the app. The driver should never pressure you to pay cash in person, to give a tip, or insist on a 5 star rating. Conversation should be polite, never personal. The car should be clean, the driver should take you to your destination by the most direct route possible, and only stop on the way if requested by the rider. If anything seems wrong, report it to Uber. If you feel that you are in danger at any time, call 911.
Uber is a great way to get around town, and statistically very safe, so try not to feel too nervous about your teen using it. As long as they use these tips and keep their wits about them, they should travel safely every time.