How To Handle Difficult Riders – Tips That May Save Your Life

Difficult riders will always be a problem for any Uber or Lyft driver. There will definitely be times when drivers have to pick up irate, drunk, or even rude riders. It’s not fun or enjoyable, but it’s just part of the gig.

But as an Uber or Lyft driver, one must be responsible and professional in dealing with these kinds of situations.

Here’s how drivers can potentially solve difficult situations and give 5-star service every time!

Difficult Riders – Manage Them the Right and Safe Way

1. Drunk, Nauseous Riders


The bane of all Uber and Lyft drivers everywhere — the drunk, nauseous rider, is one of the most difficult riders a driver will eventually face. This is doubly true if the driver is a night owl, preferring to take to the streets after dark.

These riders will most likely puke in the car, which could rack up a few hundred dollars worth of cleaning fees, easily. However, there’s a way to save the car from smelling like a bar bathroom! Keep a stash of barf bags handy in the pockets of the seats or in the glove compartment. This way, drivers don’t have to pay for any professional cleaning fee.

2. Drunk, Unruly Riders

On the other side of the inebriated spectrum are the drunk, unruly riders. These are the people who are loud, obnoxious, and downright annoying. They may be fiddling with the radio or the driver’s phone, lighting up cigarettes with the windows down, or doing dangerous stunts like sitting on the open windows.

If a driver sees this happening, they may sternly remind the riders that the driver can and will end the trip should they continue their horseplay. If they continue to be unruly, the driver should pull up to a well-lit and monitored area and drop the passengers off there. Gas stations and 24-hour diners are a great place to leave unruly passengers.

3. Disrespectful Riders

People from all walks of life drive Uber or Lyft cars and the same applies to difficult riders. Different types will come through those car doors, and there will be times when rather disrespectful situations arise. Issues such as racism and discrimination can happen.

If a rider starts being hostile and the driver feels threatened, the driver can stop the trip immediately and let the rider out of the car. Afterwards, the driver should report the rider through the app. It is best if there is a camera that records the backseat for the driver’s safety (and potentially, for evidence).

4. “Divas”

“Divas” are difficult riders who make drivers wait for 5 minutes or more, drop the wrong pin, and expect the driver to find them or those who complain loudly about the state of the vehicles they ride.

There’s really not much a driver can do about these except to cancel the trip. If that isn’t an option, then a driver should learn how to exercise patience. They should never snap at the rider or complain loudly. Basically, it boils down to not stooping to the diva rider’s level. A driver should calmly make and finish the trip and then rate the rider accordingly. Fair is fair, isn’t it?

5. Messy Riders

Messy Riders | Difficult Riders | Management Tips That May Save Your Life
One of the challenges of using a private car when driving for Uber or Lyft is the disregard some difficult riders will have for the car’s cleanliness and welfare. These riders might bring pets along for their ride, which can potentially shed fur. Other times, a rider might open up a bag of snacks and shower crumbs all over the carpet. Worst yet, a difficult rider might just suddenly light his cigarette or use his vape without permission.

In these situations, a driver should always remember that he has the authority to tell his riders to cease; or at the very least, tell them to dispose of their mess responsibly. Additionally, drivers can always charge their riders a cleaning fee through Uber for the trouble.

6. Aggressive Riders

Some difficult riders can be overly aggressive. They can be very loud when complaining, speaking to the driver in very harsh tones, being pushy when it comes to directions, and more. In extreme cases, violence has erupted between difficult riders and hapless drivers.

In these situations, it is imperative that the driver realizes that they have a right and responsibility to defend themselves. The driver must force the aggressive rider from their vehicle through any means possible and immediately call 911 after so they can leave the situation to the authorities.

7. Non-Tippers

Not all Uber or Lyft drivers may perceive this as a problem, but some will. Non-tippers can be difficult riders depending on a driver’s point of view. Drivers work long hour — sometimes, for low pay — and tips are a welcome boost to a driver’s income. However, tipping is not mandatory.

If a driver wishes to be tipped after a trip, he must provide excellent service to merit it. Little things, such as asking the rider if the heat or AC is turned up enough and offering little concessions such as bottled water or mints can be a great boost the driver’s rating and their tip jar as well!

My Take

Uber or Lyft drivers should be aware of the steps they have to take to manage their difficult riders. Safety for both the rider and driver is always important, but also an obligation that the driver takes on when picking up a passenger.

Share these rider management tips with your fellow drivers and spread the word of safety around. Happy driving!

Do you have any more safety tips for Uber or Lyft drivers? Tell us in the comments.

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