Ride-sharing has made getting around extremely easy; download the app, schedule a ride, and go! In a city like Nashville, you can get wherever you need to go without breaking the bank – and enjoy the Music City nightlife without worrying about driving home.
Unfortunately, these ride-sharing services have also created an environment that gives sexual predators opportunities to prey on unassuming individuals; if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you become vulnerable to sexual assault by an unscrupulous rideshare driver or a sexual predator only posing as a rideshare driver.
What Are Some Important Safety Tips To Follow When Using A Rideshare Service?
Here are some essential safety tips to follow when using a rideshare service:
- Before going out for the night, ensure your phone is fully charged. If your phone is dead and someone else calls for a ride on your behalf, you could end up alone in the car in a dangerous situation with no means of communication.
- Don’t just assume that the car you see pulling over is your ride. A big part of rideshare safety is ensuring you get in the right vehicle. You can also confirm that the make and model of the car and the name and photo match what you see on the rideshare app you’re using.
- Ask friends to ride along if you’ve had too much to drink.
- Do not fall asleep in the car – whether sober or intoxicated, alone or with friends. It’s essential to remain aware of your surroundings – and if you don’t feel safe, don’t be afraid to end your ride early.
Being aware, prepared, and responsible is the best way to avoid dangerous situations. If you do find yourself in a bad situation, call 911 immediately.
How Can A Rideshare Driver Help To Keep Their Passengers Safe?
If you are a ride-sharing driver, you can be part of the solution and help your passengers be safe. Look for signs of human trafficking or that your passenger may not be traveling according to their own will.
- If numerous people get into your vehicle, watch for any passenger who appears to be in a state where they cannot make rational decisions or where they are being taken somewhere without their consent.
- Uber’s website lists specific signs of human trafficking for drivers to look out for, including:
- If the rider appears distressed, disoriented, lost, or fearful
- If the rider has any physical signs of abuse or branding, including tattoos that say things like “property of Daddy,” “for sale,” or anything else that indicates ownership
- If the rider appears to have been denied food or water or has poor hygiene
- If another passenger appears to be exerting power over the rider, such as grabbing their arm, giving them an intimidating or threatening look, or shoving them into a rideshare vehicle
The Uber website also notes that most human trafficking occurs at hotels or transportation hubs. Children may be victims of human trafficking if they’re being dropped off or picked up at unsafe places. People with multiple phones or excessive cash may be involved in human trafficking.
At Bridges Domestic Violence Center, we care about your safety – it’s what we do. You can contact us any time of the day or night at (615) 599 5777 or online to get help if you are threatened or in danger from an abuser.
We are a member agency of United Way of Greater Nashville.