In Case Of Vomiting: How To Avoid And What To Do If It Happens

Ask any driver and they’ll agree that one of the most disgusting things that can happen when driving is if a passenger vomits in your car.

Cleaning vomit from your back seats is incredibly gross, but also just part of the rideshare game. It’ll happen to even the best drivers at one point or another during their career.

It happens so much that some drivers have turned it into a money-making opportunity. It’s a real thing, and it’s called Vomit Fraud. But, our purpose here is not to promote that kind of bad idea!

But the reality is that even though vomit is gross, there are ways to avoid it by simply planning ahead. And in this lesson, Sam is going to break down what causes passengers to vomit in your car, and give you proven strategies to avoid the mess.

What Is the Best Way to Avoid Vomiting Drunks?

There are several things you can do to minimize the chances that this will ever happen to you.  But, if you drive long enough, it probably will happen eventually.

The most sure fire way to avoid it is to simply not drive the late night bar scene.  And we put the emphasis on “late night” there.  Because you can fairly safely drive the early evening bar scene and never have a problem.  It is not usually until very late at night, or early in the morning, that people get so drunk that they just can’t hold it in.  Most drivers do not normally have problems early in the evenings.

Now, “late night” is different times in different cities, so we can’t tell you the exact hours of “late night” where you live.  In fact, it’s not that specifically defined anyway.  Late night might start at one time on one night and another time a week later.  But generally speaking it’s around 2:00 a.m.

Anyway, you can usually know when it’s getting to be about that time just by watching people coming out of the bars.  If they’re stumbling, shouting, acting generally stupid… you know it’s about that time!

Unfortunately, not driving the late night bar scene, also necessarily means not driving late nights at all.  Because late nights will include some bar business no matter what you do.  And you may be unwilling to forego those hours.  It might be too costly for you to give them up altogether.  Or, it may be the only realistic time you can drive.

So, in the case of drivers who have to drive late nights, we have some suggestions for best improving your chances of avoiding vomiting drunks.

If I Have to Drive Late Nights, How Can I Best Avoid Vomiting Drunks?

There are a few things you can do to minimize your chances of having an inebriated passenger throw up in your car.  One of the best suggestions Sam makes in this video is when you’re driving the late night bar scene and you get a ping from a bar, text or call the passenger before you arrive.

Just tell them you wanted to check exactly where they’d be so you can find them easily.  But, listen to how they respond.  If they’re slurring their words… cancel the call!  If they’re not making sense… cancel the call.  If they don’t sound like they even know where they are and they can’t give you any idea where to pick them up, cancel the call!

If you get any kind of weird feeling while talking to them – then chances are, they’re too drunk to handle their liquor and they’re a good candidate for barfing in your car.  If that’s what you want to avoid – then just cancel the call and drive on.  Just press Cancel and then “Don’t Charge Passenger”.  You don’t want to charge them anything for these cancellations, you just want to avoid having a nasty mess (and odor) from spoiling your car.

If they seem okay when you call them then proceed with your pickup.  But keep your eyes and ears open.  If they stumble out of the bar or if they stumble out and there are people who are holding them up – RUN!  Just cancel the trip and run.

Sure, it doesn’t do you any favors on your cancellation rate, but we believe it’s worth the trade off.

What Happens if an Uber Passenger Throws Up in My Car?

If a passenger does eventually throw up in your car, there are several things you need to do because Uber and Lyft will both pay you a fee to help compensate for your trouble.  In the early days of Uber and Lyft that fee was a very generous flat fee of $250.

But today, the two companies are no longer that generous.  Today you’re lucky to get $50 out of them.  And if you do put in a claim for cleaning, they’ll often now ask to see a receipt.

In the early days there were drivers who decided this was a great way to make money.  So they would buy all the cleaning equipment needed to thoroughly and effectively clean vomit out of cars and if someone did throw up in their car, they’d simply clean it themselves and put in a claim to Uber or Lyft for the cleaning expenses.  Uber and Lyft would then reliably send them $250.

The problem with that idea, even back then, was you know you’re never going to fully get rid of the odor, if you drive around every weekend looking for these kinds of passengers!  So eventually it’s going to really stink up your car.  Another problem was that even if you could fully get rid of the odor each time, you would still be out of work for the rest of that night and possibly all the next day too as you wait for the car to fully dry and the odor to be fully removed.  So, it could end up costing you more than the $250 you gained, in lost working time and trips.

Today, seeking out these kinds of trips makes no sense at all in light of the fact that you’re not likely to get anything more than $50.  So, if it wasn’t really worth it at $250 it’s definitely not worth it for $50!

Precautions Against Vomiting

If after doing everything in your power to avoid picking up the drunkest of the drunk, you still get someone in your car who’s going to vomit – the best protection is to have vomit bags.  They’ll usually give you some warning if they think they’re going to barf.  Or you’ll hear them groaning and making all kinds of unpleasant noises!  Just ask and hand them the bag if you suspect they’re about to barf and let them do it in the bag.

We also recommend pulling over and stopping the car if you can.  If you find yourself in this situation without any bag, roll their window down for them and ask them to try to do it out the window.

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4 thoughts on “In Case Of Vomiting: How To Avoid And What To Do If It Happens”

  1. My first experience with vomiting was a rider who was kind enough to lean his head out the window as he vomited. I thanked him! He did get a small amount in the car, so I took pics and sent to Uber, not sure what would result. They charged the guy $150 cleaning fee, and gave me 100% of it – no commission or other fees taken out.

    Now when a passenger seems likely to vomit, I tell them about the cleaning fee they’ll be charged if they throw up in my car. That often provides them the motivation to hold it in till their destination!

  2. My only problem with this particular post is you are discouraging Uber drivers or Lyft drivers.. I understand throwing up in your car is a bad thing and it’s gross.. but I also thought Lyft or Uber I was also a form for people to be able to get a safe ride home from being drunk and not driving themselves.. this does seem a bit discouraging for people trying to request Uber / Lyft..

  3. I had a Lyft fare tonight that was in coherent and had projectile vomit. Even got the dashboard from back seat. Got me 2. I had to call police and then they took her to hospital by ambulance. This happened at 1a.m. and it now 6:26. I better see the 250 because i even have it on me. This car does not belong to uber or lyft it belongs to me. I make the payments on it so who are they to decide how much i get. This is the first time its happened to me her sister said she was fine just needed to go home and thej spoke to her in another language so i assumed she didn’t speak English and handed her a green barf bag which never got used. Made it all the way to in front of her house, stopped, and spoke to her trying to wake her then…Ralf.. she never even tried to go anywhere with vomit except between her feet. Now im left with the aftermath beeb cleaning for hours. Worried wondering what if she had hepatitis or other infectious disease. I have couple small scabs on my hand from working on car yesterday. Also i spent , $73 at Walmart on safety equipment, deodorizers, and cleaners to clean it up. Getting ready to spend another $25 on new floor mats had to pitch others so about 100 bucks out of pocket. i sent them pictures of the receipts. Lost time driving and 4 hours of backbreaking cleaning, not to mention money spent at car wash, and your telling me that im only going to see 50 bucks? I lost out on an easy 150 in fares, dealt with police, looking out for the one that just puked on me making sure i put her best interest first. I dont think so its gonna be every bit of 250 or i will personally send lyft a bill. I think a judge would rule in my favor i have video, pictures, and reciepts, i didnt pour the liquor in her and i didn’t ask her if she needed a ride home she called me. I also am not a repeat offender and i won’t make the mistake of hauling another in that shape without a friend going with them

  4. Nichole. yes! thats exactly the point! teaching people responsibility. If you are that dead drunk. throw up on the outside. get some water. seat on the front seat, ask the driver to pull over if you need to do it again. Dont throw up in our cars! if you threw up in the car, the driver is out of a job for the night. Its my only income, you have to compensate for my lost income for the day plus the cleaning fee. Simple. I can drink ok, but i never lost my mind to the point its ok to let myself loose like that in someone else’s car. im sorry its a question of good manners and respect. dont get in the car if you are not sure you can handle it.

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