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Proper Uber Etiquette For Riders [Before, During & After]

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Key Takeaways

  • Be ready at your pickup location to avoid delaying the Uber driver.
  • During the ride, respect the driver’s space and maintain polite communication.
  • Adjust settings like music or temperature with the driver’s permission only.
  • Tipping is appreciated to recognize good service; rate the ride fairly.

Is There an Uber Etiquette?

The short and simple answer to this question is yes. Using ridesharing apps like Uber has its etiquette and guidelines.

These guidelines apply for both riders and drivers to ensure both parties are courteous and enjoy a pleasant experience during the ride.

In fact, some of those rules are even detailed in Uber’s community guidelines.  These are official rules set by Uber to ensure a smooth and safe experience for both riders and drivers.

These typically cover aspects like being on time, abiding by capacity limits, and being respectful to each other.

Besides the written rules, there are some common courtesy rules that apply to any social interactions between drivers and riders, even if they’re not mentioned explicitly in the guidelines.

Although these aspects aren’t mentioned typically in the guidelines, they have a significant impact on the ride experience as a whole.

One thing to note here is that many of these guidelines are geared towards drivers. Yet, there isn’t enough attention to the other end of the interaction. That’s why this guide will provide you with an in-depth look at those unspoken Uber etiquette rules.

Being Prepared Before Your Ride

When thinking of Uber etiquette, the first thing most people think of is their manners while on the ride.

While the ride represents the major portion of the relationship between riders and drivers, their interactions start as soon as the drivers accept the ride.

In other words, even before you enter a driver’s vehicle, there are some important aspects to keep in mind to stay courteous and respectful to them.

In this section, we’ll discuss these points in further detail and show you what you should do to make your Uber driver’s life much easier.

Requesting Your Ride

Once a driver accepts your ride and moves towards you, you’ll see their estimated arrival time on the map. Ideally, you need to be ready and wait for your driver at the designated pickup point within that time.

Uber drivers are independent contractors who are compensated for the time they spend completing trips on the driver app and not only for the miles they travel with passengers.

In other words, waiting long periods until you show up may end up cutting significantly into their earnings.

For that reason, Uber set its fare calculation system to include wait times and may incur an additional fee if you leave the driver waiting too long.

While you’re given some time to prepare and get ready before meeting the driver at the pickup location, it’s always a good idea to avoid leaving the driver waiting for too long.

A good tip to make sure you show up quickly is to check the ride’s location on the map and adjust your pace so that you arrive at the pickup point before the ride arrives.

Choosing the Right Pickup Location

Besides time considerations, Uber riders should also mind the location of the ride, as the app allows you to mark the exact point where you want your driver to meet you.

For starters, always make sure that you set the Uber pickup location accurately to where you want your driver to show up.

Don’t rely on addresses as drivers aren’t necessarily familiar with the area. Additionally, looking for directions can take some extra time and effort.

Of course, it’s perfectly okay to prioritize your safety while setting a location, so always choose a pickup point in a populated area, ideally near a business or landmark. Avoid isolated locations or dimly lit alleys.

That being said, you should still be mindful of excessive traffic, as it can significantly delay the driver.

Remember that parking and waiting aren’t allowed everywhere, so you have to keep that in mind to avoid putting the driver in legal trouble or parking tickets.

Uber Etiquette During the Ride

Now that you’ve met the driver and getting ready to set off, you’re entering the major portion of the trip.

To stay respectful of your driver throughout that period, here are some essential tips and recommendations to keep in mind.

Getting In

The first step of getting into your Uber sets the tone for the whole ride. Before you even approach the car, always check the ride details in your Uber app.

This will display a wide range of information about the ride and the driver. These include the driver’s photo and license plate number as well as the car’s make, color, and model.

Double-check that all this information matches what you see on your phone. For your safety, never get into a car that doesn’t match the details in the app.

Once you’ve confirmed it’s your Uber, make eye contact with the driver as you approach their car. A friendly smile and greeting as you open the car’s door would also go a long way.

Now that you’re about to get in, always avoid slamming the car door shut. Besides coming across as extremely rude to the driver, it can potentially damage the door, resulting in costly repairs.

Using the Trunk

As per Uber’s guidelines, you’re allowed to use the car trunk to store your luggage or groceries during the ride.

However, it’s still a good idea to politely ask the driver if they’d like you to place them in the trunk before getting in. The driver would typically accept and many of them would even assist you.

Seat Selection and Safety

Uber doesn’t have pre-selected seating, so technically, you can sit wherever you like. However, there are some reliable tips to consider for your safety and comfort.

Ideally, the safest and most comfortable spot for a single rider is the back seat behind the passenger side.

This position gives you easy access to both door exits while letting you communicate freely with the driver while maintaining personal distance.

Drivers adjust their seating to stay comfortable during a ride, and sitting on the opposite end gives more leg room for comfort.

If there are two people riding, it would be okay to sit behind the driver but avoid sitting in the middle of the seat unnecessarily because it might obstruct the driver’s vision through the rearview mirror.

Regardless of where you ride, it’s also a good idea to fasten the seatbelt for safety. A good safety measure here would also be sharing your ride information with your loved ones.

Interaction with the Driver

Uber has a wide range of drivers and each one has their unique personality. Some might enjoy striking up a friendly conversation while others prefer silence.

If you don’t prefer having a conversation, you’d be happy to know that Uber introduced a Quiet Mode in some locations. This allows you to set the level of conversation you’re open to having on a ride.

On the other hand, some Uber drivers prefer not to chat during rides, so you have to respect their wishes and avoid a conversation in this case.

Of course, most of them won’t actually tell you that they need their space, but there would be some cues to tell that they prefer a quiet ride.

For example, they would seem uninterested in elaborating on discussions or topics you bring up.

Using In-ride Features

Uber offers a variety of in-app features to enhance your ride experience, including route changes and adding stops. While you’re allowed to use these features, you should still keep the following aspects in mind.

If you notice a quicker route due to traffic changes, or you want to change your destination, you should politely let the driver know first.

Use phrases like “Excuse me, I need to change the destination to a new location. May I update the drop-off point on the app?”

That being said, avoid requesting major route changes that significantly alter the driver’s planned course or add considerable time/distance. Even if you’re paying for it, it could still disrupt the driver’s schedule.

If necessary, you can always cancel or end your current ride, and book a new one with the updated destination.

Besides route changes, you should also add any stops you’re planning to take to the ride, whether you’re picking up someone or running a quick errand, especially if that location isn’t on your way to the destination.

Before adding a stop during a ride, politely ask the driver’s permission. Explain the stop will be quick and won’t cause a major delay. Be understanding if they decline due to any time constraints they have.

Music and Temperature

When Uber first launched, it was common for riders to play their own music on the car’s speakers.

However, this quickly caused trouble as music preferences are personal and some people play the music too loud.

Be courteous and respectful while requesting volume or music changes, and factor in the driver’s comfort.

The same goes for temperature changes. Always request the driver’s permission and never reach out to make adjustments on your own.

Eating and Drinking

Ideally, you should avoid consuming food and beverages in cars, as it can lead to messy accidents.

However, if absolutely necessary, you should ask for the driver’s permission and be as careful as possible not to make a mess and clean up after yourself before you leave the ride.

Giving Directions and Feedback

Most Uber drivers rely on GPS navigation built into the app. Offering directions should be viewed as supplementary, not a replacement for their primary navigation tool.

Try to balance between offering helpful directions and respecting the driver’s expertise during the ride by always providing the information as helpful suggestions.

Avoid constant criticism of the driver’s choices or micromanaging them on every turn. It can be distracting and create unnecessary tension. If you don’t think they’re going the right way, start by asking why they’re taking that specific route.

Uber Etiquette Related to Tipping and Rating

While tipping on Uber rides isn’t mandatory, it’s widely recognized as a way to show appreciation for good service. It also directly supplements the driver’s income and acknowledges a job well done.

Ideally, a range of 10 to 15% of the fare value should be a good range. You may even go up to 25% for an exceptional performance. For extremely short rides, even a small fixed amount ($2 to $3) would be appreciated.

You get to rate rides after completion out of five stars. It’s usually common courtesy to give drivers five stars if the ride was smooth and reserve lower ratings for noticeably poor performance, such as:

  • Rude behavior
  • Unclean driver or car
  • Significant detours or unsafe driving practices
  • Ignoring your requests (temperature, music, luggage, etc)

Uber Etiquette for Ending Your Ride

Before exiting the vehicle, remember to check your personal belongings to avoid losing important items.

Remember to always get out on the curbside

 for safety and to protect the car from incoming vehicles.

Before you leave, make sure that you thank the driver for their effort to foster a positive atmosphere.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Here are some of the most common pitfalls that new riders make on Uber trips:

  • Offering unnecessary backseat driving advice or excessive criticism
  • Leave trash behind after you exit the car
  • Invading the driver’s personal space whether physically or verbally
  • Unfairly low-rating a driver
  • Extending your welcomes and goodbyes
  • Sitting unnecessarily in the front seat, especially without asking first

Additional Considerations

Lastly, here are some helpful tips and additional considerations to keep in mind in specific circumstances.

Accessibility Needs

Many Uber drivers receive training on how to deal with special requirements and accessibility needs.

It’s always better to communicate your special requirements or seek the help of the driver than suffer in silence. This also includes needing the windows open/closed, temperature control, music, etc.

Safety Measures

  • Share the ride details with someone you know.
  • Document the ride details by keeping a screenshot of conversations with the driver in case you need to report a problem.
  • Communicate with the driver any concerns, but make sure you remain polite while doing so.
  • If you feel in danger, don’t call Uber and seek emergency help directly.
  • Avoid being overly engrossed in your phone and be mindful of your surroundings throughout the ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Rude to Not Tip an Uber Driver?

While not mandatory, tipping is a widely recognized way to show appreciation for good service in the service industry, especially in North America.

For that reason, many drivers consider it rude not to get tips for the service they provide, especially since they rely on tips as part of their income.

Is Flirting Allowed in an Uber Ride?

You should avoid flirting in Uber because it can make the other party extremely uncomfortable or even unsafe.

After all, the driver is there to provide professional service, and the passenger is there to get to their destination.

Additionally, even with consent, flirting can be quite distracting and shift the driver’s focus from the road, which could lead to an accident.

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