Ridesharing services like Uber connect drivers and riders, both of whom are usually just regular people.
However, if you’re concerned about how this business model treats security, we did some digging into whether Uber is safe at night. Here’s what you should know!
Is Uber Safe at Night?
For the most part, Uber is safe at night, but this doesn’t mean that danger is completely ruled out as a possibility. Both riders and drivers face different potential hazards at night from each other and third parties. However, over time, both Uber and riders have come up with ways to improve overall safety while using the service.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about safety on Uber, including what the company does to improve it, what you can do, and more!
How Does Uber Ensure Safety?
Uber has implemented several different measures to ensure safety on its platform, including:
- Panic button – also called an emergency or safety button, the rider can use it when they’re in danger
- GPS tracking throughout the ride
- Drivers have to undergo background checks that are ongoing even after they are approved
- Riders have the ability to share their trip with others that can track it in real-time. They also have the option to set up a list of trusted contacts and get reminders to share trips
- 24/7 incident report – Uber says its customer support is trained to respond to serious safety issues
- Safety toolkit – a collection of safety options with quick access in one place
- 2-way ratings – having the drivers and riders able to rate each other lets others know what to expect. Those with low ratings could be kicked off the platform
- Anonymization – Uber uses a two-way masking system to keep the users’ phone numbers hidden by generating temporary ones when needed
- RideCheck – this feature tracks the ride and looks for unusual movement such as going off the normal route
- On-trip reporting – this lets the user report non-emergency issues early on without having to wait until after the trip
What Is the Safety Toolkit On Uber?
Uber’s safety toolkit is a group of options that give the rider faster access to different safety tools, including:
- 911 assistance – the rider can call 911 and get trip information, along with their estimated location, to share
- Safety center – this is the section where the rider sets up safety options beforehand, containing more information on safety. It’s also where they can set up trusted contacts
- Share my trip – this gives others the rider’s trip information so they can track it in real-time. If they’ve set up trusted contacts, they’ll receive these details
How to Safely Ride Uber
As an Uber rider, you can improve your own safety on trips by doing the following:
- Share details of your trip before it starts – this includes the license plate number, driver’s name, and a picture of the car if you can. Use the “Share my trip” feature to send details out to your trusted contacts ahead of time
- Make sure the driver knows someone else has the trip details – do this by having another person accompany you to the dropoff location and verbally confirm that they have the information
- Ride with someone else where you can
- Verify the driver’s identity before getting in the car – aside from confirming that it’s the right car and checking the photo, ask the driver who they’re there to pick instead of asking them if they’re the name you see on the app. This way, you can be sure that it’s the same person you were matched with
- Sit at the back so you have a better view of them than they do you
- Familiarize yourself with the app’s safety features like the panic button for faster access
- Don’t enter details of sensitive locations – provide nearby landmarks for the pickup and dropoff locations instead, e.g. a convenience store near your house instead of your actual house
What Does the Uber Safety Button Do?
When you hit the Uber safety button, what happens next depends on where you’re based but, for most regions, it shows you important details about the trip.
These include the car’s license plate number and your approximate current location that you can share with the authorities on a call.
Ube also sends this information to its response team and it can be relayed to the police from there if you can’t do it yourself.
In certain markets like South Africa, the information is sent to a private security company that will respond to you.
Is It Safe to Have Uber Pick You up at Home?
As we’ve stated above, it’s best to have Uber pick you up from somewhere other than your home just to be on the safe side.
For example, you could have the pickup location be a landmark near your house where you can walk to.
Aside from keeping your exact address more private, it’s easier for a driver to find on their own.
Is Uber Safer Than Taxi?
Whether Uber is safer than a taxi is still being investigated by experts, but Uber has additional safety features.
For example, Uber runs continuous automated background checks on its drivers, while taxi companies only do them once before approval.
Aside from a more encompassing background check policy, Uber’s app gives it certain advantages over traditional taxis.
These include the ability to share more detailed trip information faster, real-time tracking, and the inbuilt panic button.
Additionally, Uber allows riders and drivers to rate each other, using this data to identify problem users more efficiently.
To know more, you can also read our posts on whether or not Uber drive vans or SUVs, is Uber legal, and why is Uber so expensive.
For the most part, Uber is safe at night, but there are still dangers for drivers as well as riders. Uber has taken steps to ensure rider safety by conducting background checks on drivers, having real-time tracking, implementing a safety toolkit, and more.
Uber riders can improve their safety by sharing their trip details beforehand, not entering sensitive addresses as their pickup and dropoff locations, learning the app’s safety features early on, and more.