As the demand for rideshare services increases over the winter season, holiday safety tips become more important than ever.
However, while the danger of an icy road or a drunk driver are important things to consider, a risk less talked about by rideshare drivers is the danger that aggressive passengers pose to them.
Learn how a driver can protect themselves without compromising their ratings with the tips below.
Holiday Safety Tips: Dealing With Aggressive Passengers
Assessing the Risk
Rideshare drivers must know how to act in certain situations. Although drivers strive to give passengers the satisfaction they deserve, not every ride goes well and not every passenger is the same.
Quick Holiday Safety Tips
- Be aware when a passenger enters the vehicle.
- Pay attention to the passenger’s current state of mind, feeling, or general condition. For example, drunk passengers might suddenly become aggressive. With this in mind, drivers should be careful when talking to them.
- Pay attention to body language. Is the rider seriously in a hurry? Does it seem like someone is chasing them?
- If the passenger is holding a weapon, do not to let them in the car and keep your distance.
- Don’t immediately jump to conclusions. Instead, examine the situation clearly and be careful not to show any reactions that might offend the passenger.
- Remember, the job is to get passengers to their destination, so be as professional as possible.
Dealing with Difficult Passengers
As a rideshare driver, one needs to be prepared to handle unexpected and possibly dangerous circumstances. While it can be difficult to plan for everything, knowing how to react to some basic scenarios will help keep things calm for everyone.
1. Unconscious Passengers
If a passenger suddenly passes out in the vehicle, refrain from touching the passenger and think of other ways to awaken them. After all, how would people normally react if they woke up and saw a stranger touching them? This can be a cause of panic and unwanted accusations.
Instead, try other alternatives like increasing the music volume or opening the windows. If this doesn’t work, asking somebody else to awaken the passenger at their destination is the safest thing to do. If all else fails, call 911 and relay the events as they occur. Don’t touch the passenger and just wait for rescue to arrive.
2. Drunk Passengers
Intoxicated passengers can be unpredictable. Sometimes they’re friendly and even too friendly at times. Act professionally in these situations and remind the passenger that the driver’s job is to simply get them home safely.
When there are drunk passengers having immense difficulty giving their address, try asking for their driver’s license or any other form of identification with an address. This will help input a concrete destination in the app/GPS. Rideshare drivers need to stay in control of the situation while remaining friendly.
3. Suspicious-looking Passengers
If the passenger looks really suspicious and this makes the driver uncomfortable, the driver has the right to refuse the ride. However, make sure to abide by the rideshare company’s policies when refusing a passenger. Alternatively, the driver may also encourage the passenger to sit in the passenger seat. This allows the driver to keep track of the passenger’s hands and foresee any possible danger.
Remember that while it’s not nice to judge people by the way they look, thinking of one’s own safety isn’t bad even if it may seem offensive to the other individual. Be polite and kind as a rideshare driver, but remember to put safety first if the situation calls for it. The job can be risky at times, so always be aware of your surroundings.
4. Aggressive Passengers
When facing an aggressive passenger, try to remain polite and listen if the rider is talking. Don’t do anything that could further agitate the passenger. If this doesn’t work and the passenger is completely unresponsive, do what is necessary to create space away from the aggressor. If it comes to a point where they’re getting more physical, just get out of the car and call 911 immediately. Never get carried away and avoid any physical altercation as much as possible.
Should the Driver Bring Mace or Install a Dash Cam?
Both pieces of equipment can be very useful for recording and defense purposes. Despite that, drivers should know the possible dangers of using these tools.
Fast Holiday Safety Solutions
- Unfortunately, mace can potentially hurt the driver too. If in panic mode, the user could mistakenly aim the mace canister at themselves.
- Spraying inside a closed car increases the chances that the mace will hurt the driver along with the attacker.
- As an alternative, consider installing a dash cam. Albeit expensive, a dash cam is very useful because it records all activities near the car continuously. Certain models even have cameras at the front and back to record the inside of the vehicle as well.
- Dash cams also provide crucial evidence in situations where one’s word is against another. A video recording is an indisputable piece of evidence, and it makes it easier to prove who’s at fault in an incident, whether that be with another car or a passenger.
- A dash cam additionally records reckless drivers who could potentially put other peoples’ lives in danger.
- Finally, dash cams can be useful for police encounters. When an officer flags a driver down for running a red light, but the dash cam shows a different story, then the driver is proven innocent and will be off the hook. The same thing goes with accidents; a dash cam recording can prove who is really at fault.
Watch this video by ABC 10 News showing dash cam footage of an Uber driver’s bad encounter:
Unfortunately, the world has no shortage of wrongdoers. That’s why rideshare drivers need to be aware and alert at all times, especially during the holidays when emotions are high and people tend to drink more.
Knowing these holiday safety tips can help reduce the possibility of situations going wrong. Remember, do what is necessary to stay away from trouble and drive safely!
Do you have any other holiday safety tips as a rideshare driver? Share your thoughts in the comments below!