We can all agree that your goal as a rideshare driver is to maximize your earnings. One of the best ways to do this without interruption is to avoid getting into an auto accident.
You probably already go out of your way to avoid situations that look dangerous. Maybe you only drive in areas that you’re familiar with to improve the odds of a safe journey. Maybe you avoid driving at night when the roads are tougher to see. Then, despite these strategic steps, the unexpected happens: a car accident.
Bewildered, you take a few deep breaths and try to calm down. While you attempt to regain your composure, everything starts to crystallize in your mind. You just got into an accident, and now you need to figure out what you’re expected to do.
We hope that you are never in this type of situation. In case you do end up in an accident while driving for Uber or Lyft, here’s everything you need to know to properly handle an on-the-job accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Ensure Everyone is Safe
Once you are clear-headed and have checked yourself for any personal injury, do a self-check and confirm the status of all your passengers. There are subtle signs of bodily injury to watch out for that may indicate injury after experiencing a car accident. Symptoms to be on the lookout for are numbness, nausea, or dizziness.
Depending on how fast you were going when the accident occurred, you or passengers may experience whiplash. If this happens, nausea and dizziness are a telltale clue that an internal injury or a concussion has occurred.
The other symptom, numbness, can be a sign of potential nerve damage. Due to the seriousness of these health issues, it is important to take note if either you or your passengers experience them as they may require immediate medical attention.
After gathering the current health status of everyone in your vehicle, it is time to call the police.
Dial 911, even if everyone and everything seems fine after the accident. Informing a police officer of the event that just unfolded will be beneficial. The officer who arrives on site has been trained to act as the voice of reason.
A rational presence minimizes the chance of any additional harm, as emotions will often run high immediately following an accident. The police are also trained to help with the process of collecting the right information. Gathering this data on your own can be hard to do after enduring the stress of an accident.
Collect Insurance Information
After an accident, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to collect specific information for insurance coverage. Take a picture of the license plate on the other vehicle involved in the accident. Also take pictures of any car or property damage. If the driver refuses to provide any other information, the license plate alone can help police and insurance with identifying who was involved.
Swap your driver’s license with the other driver and snap a photo of their license. During this initial exchange, take note of what the other person is saying. Avoid admitting fault at all costs. Hearing the other person’s account of the accident and not taking blame will help you maintain a level head if the other person decides to alter their story later.
Next, exchange insurance cards and take a photo of this as well. Well collecting all this information, make sure to look for personal insurance, auto insurance and liability coverage.
If there are any witnesses around, record their accounts too. Although this may seem like overkill the information you gather may be quite useful in the event of a lawsuit.
Record Your Experience
Once you have collected the proper external information, recount the events that occurred in an audio recording. Use your phone to create a digital record of what you remember. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and it is common for people to forget the intricate details of such a small timeframe. These little insights can prove to be vital in determining who is at fault, so be sure to take note.
If you do have to get an accident attorney involved, this information will be extremely valuable.
Once you’ve recorded your own experience and collected all insurance information, contact your insurance company and provide as much information as possible.
Report the Accident to Your Rideshare Company
Now that you have a solid record of what happened, the next step you should take is to let your rideshare company know about the accident. Here are the best ways to contact Uber after an accident, as well as the best ways to contact Lyft after an accident.
Keep in mind that Uber and Lyft may temporarily suspend your account after an accident. Once you have verified that your vehicle is in working order and safe to drive, however, your preferred rideshare company will reinstate you.
Check Whether Your Vehicle is Drivable
With all of the major issues taken care of, the only thing left to do is to check on your car.
Make sure nothing is dripping under the vehicle. Gas or oil leaks may prevent you from being able to complete the rideshare request. While you are inspecting, examine the tires. Listen for a hiss and check the tire pressure for firmness.
In the event of all four tires being firm and an absence of an air leak, drive along the side of the road for about one minute. Be leery of unusual smells, sounds, and vibrations. If you experience any of these, call a towing company.
Proactively Prepare for Uber and Lyft Accidents
Accidents happen. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of this happening to you.
Aim to get an adequate amount of rest each night. When you are not well rested, you run the risk of sleep deprivation. Drivers that experience this will notice a reduction in their reaction time. Sleep deprived drivers also run the risk of taking a micro-nap while on the road.
Another thing to practice is proper vehicle maintenance. Be sure to top off fluids, keep up with routine oil changes, and replace squeaky brakes as soon as possible. Upholding these responsibilities can reduce the odds of experiencing an accident due to vehicle trouble.
Finally, take the time to invest in rideshare insurance. The insurance provided by Uber and Lyft only covers you and your vehicle if there are passengers onboard.
Furthermore, your normal insurance provider may not provide the coverage that your rideshare business needs. This can lead to insurance claims being denied and drivers in financial ruin due to vehicle and medical bills
Automobile accidents are stressful and scary. Hopefully, you never have to experience such a potentially traumatic event. In the event that you do, you will now know how to handle it.
Drive safe, and share your tips below on how other rideshare drivers can stay safer on the roads!