Is Uber Safe for Females?

(Bick Bhangoo) #1

There is no doubt that Uber is the best ride-share service available and that is the main reason why millions of people used the service without any fear. But lately, it seems that Uber is not having a good time with all the complaints reported. There were many complaints on the topic of the safety of Uber cabs, and some women had to face risks when using Uber service.

The Sun reported that there were 32 cases regarding rape and sex attacks on London passengers by Uber drivers in 2015. And the news which caught attention on the internet was when an Uber driver allegedly assaulted a student of the University of Cape Town and her friend, and the story went viral after this student shared her experience on Twitter. And on the other hand, The Guardian commented that more than twenty-five Uber drivers in San Francisco were fired this month (October) following sexual harassment investigation.

By the way, Uber has taken many actions to avoid these kinds of inconveniences that can occur, and some of them are listed below:

Ability to share ETA (Estimated Time Arrival)
One of the main approaches by Uber on this matter is that it provides the rider with the ability to share the ETA or the estimated time arrival with a friend or a family member. The app has the feature to share a link, and this allows your friend or parents to see your driver’s name, license plate, a photo of the driver and where the vehicle is on the map. And the essential element is being able to track even if your friend doesn’t have the app installed on his or her device.

Know the drive
When you book a ride through the Uber mobile app, it gives you all the information about the car and the driver which includes the name of the driver, the vehicle color, and type, license plate number and it also displays a photo of the driver. It aids the passengers to decide whether to continue with the driver or else to cancel the trip. Also, the app is also helpful because it provides the information of the vehicle so you can get into the correct car and one of the leading problems is that the passengers fail to check this when getting into a car. In 2016 a case was reported that a woman was kidnapped and raped after getting into the wrong car which she thought it was her Uber. So always remember to check these before starting a trip.

Ratings and feedback
Another handy facet included in the app is the ratings and feedback buttons. It is beneficial because a rider can share their positive or negative experiences in the feedback and can rate the driver from one to five stars. Be honest in this process. If you had a bad experience with the driver, do not fear to rate or give the feedback as required. A fair rating can ensure the security and safety of many other future passengers and share your experience with Uber may prevent other rider’s lousy incident.

Despite these way outs by Uber, you must have your ways to protect yourself as a woman. With all these complaints about the drivers, women should be aware of what can happen and what measures can be taken to avoid dangers that can occur. Listed below are some of the ways women can protect themselves:

Always keep a protective device with you
Being extra cautious is good for women, and that’s why they must carry a protective equipment with them. Two most perfect and handy tools to carry in your handbag are a pepper spray or a stun gun. Store them in a place where you can quickly pull them out in case of an emergency.

Settling in the car
Always sit right behind the driver’s seat so that you can take any action in case of an emergency. And always keep in touch with a friend until the end of the trip. Do not sit in the front seat because there were many unfortunate situations women had to face when they sat in the front seat. One of the instances was what 35-year-old Dakota Kim had to face. It was about 4 am when Kim got in the car, and she had to sit in the front seat because other passengers were seated in the back. She fell asleep after a while probably because of a hard day at work. She further said that when she woke up, the driver had his hands amid her legs and that she instantaneously told the driver to take off his hands, but she was frightened and worried.

Cancel the ride if you feel uncomfortable
There are many instances where a lady might feel uncomfortable during a trip. For example, if you feel like the driver is flirting with you, or if the driver goes in a completely different route, or if the driver seems fraudulent do not hesitate to cancel the trip. As I said always sit in the back seat and keep all your stuff close to you in case, you need to cancel the trip. You can make any complaints about the drivers to the Uber’s 24/7 support channel. This customer support staff is always ready to assist with any queries. They respond to you very quickly, and these specially-trained teams are available full time to support you.

Recently, Uber has lost their license to operate in London. A BuzzFeed News survey analyzed the customer service data of Uber suspects that the complaints of sexual assault and rape by Uber drivers are higher than that the police data suggests. A former Uber customer service rep had revealed that there are thousands of complaints filed under the search names “rape,” “sexually assaulted” and “rape.”

Fake Lyft Driver Sexually Assaults Woman in Ohio

Uh. Self defense advice is questionable at best. If you blow off mace in a closed car you’re just as likely to incapacitate yourself as the driver. 2% of people are immune to capsicum, and that’s when they’re sober. Add alcohol, drugs, mental illness, and rage and…youre more likely to blind and hinder yourself. You will be going tothe hospital.

Stun guns are arguably better but…not much. First you have to actually make contact with someone (good luck tasering someone in a car), which means they’re close enough to strike back. Then you have to get it out of your purse. Most people will be taken down by stun guns, but someone drunk, drugged, or deranged enough will probably shrug it off.

Neither weapon is any good if the first time you use it is when you’re in an adrenalin situation that came out of no where. Lots of people have shot their mace off in their own face, scared, frantic, fumbling in the dark, while fighting off an attacker. Tasers are equally dangerous for similar reasons.

There are no easy answers to self defense, women’s or any other. But…false feelings of safety or even encouraging people to bring weapons into a car is…concerning.

Sitting behind the driver isn’t bad, journeying with other people, keeping aware of where you are and what’s going on around you are your best defenses.

Another idea might be to call another uber. As a driver, I am so sorry that women have to worry about this. It’s not how most of us roll. Or what we tolerate or think is ok.

Be safe out there, everybody.

(Preet) #3

Personal safety alarm can come handy too. Maybe it will shock the perpetrator with the loud sound. Is it going to work 100% of the time? I doubt that, but still, it’s an option to consider.

Yeah, of course, there is no foolproof way of defending yourself, especially when you’re in the driver seat. There’s not much you can do when grabbed from the back seat. It’s also hard to react to such situations because your body goes into shock when in crisis mode.

There’s always going to be a chance for things to get dangerous, but the chances are meager with Uber compared to taxi driving.