Uber and Lyft: Are They Safe?

When you’re too tired, too tipsy, or just not in the mood to drive, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are real lifesavers. Emerging in recent years as an alternative to taxis, ridesharing services allow users to download an app, request a ride, and then wait for a driver. Ubers and Lyfts make for a more personable experience than taking a taxi, which is likely what attracts so many young people. Ridesharing services are also a great way to keep drunk drivers off the roads. Additionally, they are accessible for people who do not have their own means of transportation.

But are Ubers and Lyfts safe? Though they play a big role in keeping drunk drivers off the roads, ridesharing services still come with some risks.

Dangerous Drivers

Due to the recent murder of a woman in South Carolina, many people have scary scenarios in their minds. The woman, a college student, apparently called for an Uber, but got into the wrong car. Her body was later found and her “Uber” driver has been charged with kidnapping and murder. This tragedy is also reminiscent of a viral Facebook post from a Tampa tourist earlier this year, who believed she had been kidnapped after getting into the wrong Uber.

While this young student’s murder is devastating, situations involving malicious Uber and Lyft drivers are thankfully rare. Before they can drive for Uber, drivers must undergo a screening process that reviews their driving record and criminal history. This helps to ensure that only safe, responsible people are picking up passengers. Still, ridesharing passengers should stay alert and cautious at all times.

Stay Aware

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using Uber or Lyft:

  • Wait indoors or in a brightly lit space while waiting for your ride. If you are standing outside  with your cell phone in your hand, you look like an easier target.
  • Pay attention to the vehicle. When you request a ride, you will receive information about the vehicle, including make, model, and license plate number. Before getting in the car, confirm these details.
  • Confirm the name of your driver. Like the car information, their name will be provided through the app when you request a ride.
  • Never get a car with someone who claims to be an Uber and Lyft if you haven’t requested a ride
  • Trust your instincts!

Car Accidents While Ridesharing

While murder might not be a common issue, there are still dangers that passengers can encounter on the roads. Like any other drivers on the roads, drivers for Uber and Lyft can still be impacted by the dangerous actions of others, like drunk, distracted, or speeding drivers.

To avoid getting injured in a crash involving an Uber or Lyft:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Avoid loud music or conversation, which can distraction your driver
  • Bring along any necessary accommodations, like a car seat for your baby
  • Only have as many passengers in the car as can legally fit

Uber Accidents: Who is Liable?

When a rideshare passenger is injured, finding compensation can be difficult. This is because it can be hard to determine whose insurance to make a claim against. Is it against the driver or the ridesharing company?

Both Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have personal car insurance that either meets or exceeds their state’s minimums for liability coverage. It generally covers accidents that occur when the driver is:

  • In the process of picking up a passenger
  • Transporting a passenger

If a driver is between passengers or just driving around waiting for someone to ask for a ride, their coverage might not cover any injuries or damages.

To find compensation for an injury sustained in an accident while riding in a Lyft or Uber, the injured passenger must prove that the driver’s negligence led to the accident. For example, if an Uber driver ran a red light, leading to a head-on collision, the Uber driver’s actions would likely be considered negligent. On the other hand, if another, non-Uber driver caused the collision by running the red light, the fault would likely lie with the other driver, not with the Uber driver.

If you are involved in an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, you should gather necessary information at the scene of the crash. This includes the names and contact information of everyone involved, information from witnesses, and insurance details. You should also take pictures at the accident scene, and should call the police to get an accident report. While an accident report is always important , they can be especially helpful in accidents with complex liability.

Need Help?

When using Uber, Lyft, and any other ridesharing service, stay alert, be cautious, and know your rights as a passenger! If you are injured in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, contact a car accident attorney who can help you through the complexities of your case.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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