One of the most popular topics of conversation on any given Uber ride is Uber itself. As a driver for the ride-sharing service, I regularly find myself chatting with fares about how slick the service works.
One of the selling points for Uber is security. You have reason to trust that you’re being driven by a decent human being who poses no threat, for a couple of reasons. First, every Uber driver has undergone a criminal background check. That’s hardly foolproof, of course. But it’s better than nothing. The bigger reason for peace of mind comes from the technology behind the service. Every Uber ride is meticulously documented in digital detail. Uber knows who you are. Uber knows who your driver is. Uber knows where you are and where you are going, and exactly where you are every moment along the way. If anything criminal were to take place, there would be clear evidence as to who was involved.
The problem is that those checks only work if you first verify that the person presenting as your driver truly is. From Fox 9 in Minneapolis:
A man posing as an Uber driver picked up a woman in Uptown, drove her to Woodbury, Minn. and attempted to sexually assault her. Woodbury police said the attempted assault happened at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.
There’s an easy way to avoid such an incident. When a driver accepts your Uber request, he gets your first name on his app. Before you get in the car, ask him who he is picking up. Don’t give him your name. Make him say it. Also confirm the vehicle description and license plate number, which should be displayed in your app. Those two simple steps should ensure that you get into the right vehicle.
Aside from security, verifying that you have the right driver can avoid the awkward circumstance of getting across town only to realize the trip wasn’t properly registered. There are plenty of Uber drivers on the road, many often picking up fares at the same origin point. If rider and driver both prove careless, mix-ups can happen easily, resulting in a bad experience all around.