You’ve most likely taken a taxi or rideshare from or to the airport, an event, or just to a friend’s house. As integral tools in modern life, they offer convenience, efficiency, and, in many cases, a cost-effective alternative to owning a car. However, like any other mode of transportation, they come with risks. One of the main concerns is dangerous driver behavior, which can range from speeding and erratic lane changing to aggressive driving.
According to a study by Uber’s Safety Advisory Board, in the United States alone, there were 101 fatalities and 3,824 reported sexual assaults during Uber trips in 2019 and 2020. While these numbers may seem alarming, they only represent a fraction of all rideshare trips taken during that time. Nevertheless, it highlights the importance of being aware and proactive when traveling by taxi or rideshare.
Knowing what dangerous driver behavior looks like is the first step towards ensuring your safety when traveling by taxi or rideshare. It empowers passengers to identify potential hazards and take necessary actions, such as alerting the authorities or the rideshare company, preventing accidents and ensuring a safe journey.
Difference Between Rideshare and Taxi
Both rideshare and taxi options serve the same purpose of transportation, but they differ in operations, accessibility, and regulatory aspects. Here’s what you need to know:
- Booking rideshares: Rideshares can only be booked through their respective mobile apps. These apps allow you to set your pickup and drop-off locations, track your driver’s progress, pay for your ride, and even rate your driver.
- Booking taxis: Traditional taxis offer a more flexible approach. While many taxi companies now have their own booking apps, you can still hail a cab on the road at any time without needing a smartphone or internet connection.
- Taxi vehicle ownership: Taxi drivers typically drive vehicles owned by a taxi company or an individual who has a taxi driver’s license. They’ve got to follow specific rules and regulations set by the local authorities. This means they have to go through regular vehicle inspections and driver background checks and charge fixed fares based on the distance and time of the ride.
- Rideshare vehicle ownership: Rideshare drivers use their own vehicles and set their own hours, making ridesharing a popular choice for those looking for flexible work. Rideshare companies operate on a peer-to-peer platform model, connecting passengers with drivers directly. Fares are calculated dynamically based on demand, time, and distance. While rideshares are subject to some regulations, these are often less stringent than those governing taxis.
Knowing differences can help you figure out which one is the best fit for your needs and personal preferences.
Signs of Dangerous Rideshare and Taxi Driver Behavior
When you’re riding in a taxi or a rideshare, it’s important to be able to spot signs of dangerous driving. This way, you can take necessary precautions and make sure you’re always looking out for your own safety.
Erratic Lane Changes
Erratic lane changes can be a sign of reckless or distracted driving. If your driver frequently switches lanes without signaling or checking mirrors, or cuts off other drivers, it indicates a lack of concern for road safety rules and could lead to accidents.
Fast Acceleration and Braking
Fast acceleration and sudden braking can be signs of impatience or aggressive driving. It can also indicate that the driver is not paying full attention to the road. This kind of driving can put you or other passengers in distress and increase the risk of rear-end collisions.
Speeding or Aggressive Driving
Speeding is a clear sign of dangerous driving, and a driver who exceeds the speed limit, tailgates other vehicles, or drives aggressively puts everyone in the car at risk. So don’t be shy to ask to your driver to slow down — it’s your right.
Recognizing these signs and reporting the driver to the rideshare company or taxi service can help prevent dangerous collisions. If an accident occurs, contacting a reliable car injury settlement lawyer will help with any T-bone collisions or pedestrian accidents that may need to be settled.
Slurred or Abnormal Speech
If the driver’s speech sounds slurred or abnormal, it could mean they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or they might be dealing with a medical condition like a stroke. In these situations, it’s best to end the ride right away, report the driver, and call for medical help if needed.
If your driver is frequently distracted by their phone, eating, or other activities while driving, it’s a clear sign of dangerous behavior. Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents, resulting in approximately 3,000 yearly fatalities. This accounts for 8 to 9% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions in the United States. If you notice your driver is not entirely focused on the road, speaking up or ending the ride for your safety is best.
What To Do if You Notice Unsafe Driver Behavior
Understanding your rights and learning how to handle different situations can make you feel more empowered and prepared. It’s essential to know how to react and prevent future incidents.
Ask the Driver to Stop Immediately
If you feel unsafe due to the driver’s behavior, don’t hesitate to ask them to stop the vehicle immediately. It’s better to end the ride prematurely than to risk an accident. After exiting the car, find a safe place to wait for another ride or call for help if necessary.
Document Any Incident
In the unfortunate event of an accident, it’s crucial to document everything. This includes any injuries, such as a back injury, a head injury that could lead to a concussion, or whiplash. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate through these specific settlements.
Take pictures of your physical traumas and the vehicle, and write down the license plate number. If necessary, visit the hospital for a medical evaluation and keep copies of any medical reports. Save all relevant documents, like the trip receipt or correspondence with the rideshare company. All this information can help you receive a fair settlement.
File a Complaint with the Rideshare Company
As soon as possible, file a detailed complaint with the rideshare or taxi company. Include all relevant details about the ride, the driver, and their behavior. This helps hold the driver accountable and alerts the company to potential safety issues. A few things you should note in your complaint include the date and time of the ride, the driver’s name, vehicle make and model, trip details, and a description of the incident.
Contact an Attorney for Legal Support
In case of an accident or injury, it’s advisable to consult with a reliable attorney. They can help you with your Uber or rideshare accident settlement by gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, or representing you in court.