In an act of transparency, Uber released a report on the number of dangerous incidents that have happened in their vehicles, including sexual assault. Between the years 2017 and 2018, nearly 6,000 cases were reported. Uber does run a background check on driver applicants, and the check goes over driving history as well as criminal records. Any history of sexual assault disqualifies a driver from working for the company. However, a clean record doesn’t promise a clean future. Every criminal starts somewhere, but up until that moment had a “clean record.” So just because a driver passes Uber’s background checks, doesn’t mean riders should put their guards down when getting in cars. This is particularly true for women, as one out of three females experiences violent or sexual assault in their lifetimes.
What is a woman to do, though, when she needs to get home, and doesn’t have a car, or doesn’t currently have her car with her? It’s not as if taxis are any safer than ride-share services. The bus can be a bleak and scary place for a woman alone, especially at night. Sometimes calling for a car is the only option, and you have to look alive. Here are safety tips for women riding Uber alone.
Keep the windows down
This is a simple thing you can do to protect yourself the moment you get in the vehicle. Ask that the driver put the windows down. Say you’d like fresh air. If he will not, get out of the car. Remember that, once the windows are up, the driver can put on the child lock, making you unable to open the windows to scream for help, or crawl out at a red light. Asking that the windows are all the way down from the beginning robs a driver of a chance of trapping you inside of the vehicle. With the windows down, you can yell or climb out if you feel unsafe.