Rideshare services offer you a great alternative to driving, but sometimes they place you in danger.
If your driver is fatigued or distracted, this will impair their driving and can cause an accident. In 2015, 391,000 people were injured by distracted drivers.
Driver distraction is now the leading cause of car crashes and this figure illustrates that. However, many other factors lead rideshare drivers to cause accidents and this must be taken into account.
It’s helpful for you to understand why rideshare drivers can be dangerous so you know what to look out for. Identifying any of the characteristics and behaviors mentioned below makes a good reason to refuse a ride and/or request another driver.
Now let’s go over what you should be watching for so you can stay safe while enjoying rideshare services.
One of the biggest problems for rideshare drivers is fatigue. This is a safety concern for anyone driving, but it tends to be more prevalent amongst rideshare operators.
The reason for this is because rideshare drivers are likely to work long hours. They may choose to spend a long time accepting fares without taking a break. Alternatively, they might work another job and do rideshare later in the day for extra cash.
As a result, they are likely to be fatigued and this is where accidents happen. Fatigue causes impairment to your driving ability and is nearly as impactful as driving after drinking.
When you’re dealing with fatigue, you aren’t as sharp as you are when rested. This means that it takes you longer to react to situations, which makes it much harder to avoid a potential accident.
This is a scary thought because you may have a fatigued driver operating your rideshare. If your driver is impaired by fatigue, then they might make foolish driving decisions and place you in danger.
Another common cause of rideshare accidents is distracted driving. This is already a leading cause of accidents and can include behavior where someone is using their phone, focusing on something in the distance, eating, or doing anything that isn’t directly focusing on the road.
Many drivers are distracted daily, but it’s also likely that your rideshare operator will experience some form of distraction during your trip. The explanation for this is simple; they need to use their phone for directions and the rideshare app.
Anyone driving for a rideshare service will be using an app on their phone. This will notify them of potential rides. If you’re in a shared ride, then your driver may opt to pick up another rider during your trip.
To accept this new rider, your driver will need to use their phone. They may feel pressed for time and opt to accept the ride while they’re driving. Doing it while stopped at a red light or stop sign is the best choice, but this isn’t always a possibility.
Even if they aren’t directly interacting with their phone, your driver is likely glancing at their screen for GPS directions. They’ll be prompted with a path to follow to get you to your destination, which can be distracting if they’re trying to figure out what’s next.
Because of this, it’s unavoidable that your driver will need their phone at some point during your ride. Problems arise when they are spending more time looking at their screen than the road.
Rideshare drivers are also under pressure to perform.
There are two main scenarios where this is relevant. The first involves pressure to quickly reach a destination and the other is pressure to continue accepting rides to reach incentives.
With any rideshare service, there’s a possibility that a rider will be in a rush. To compensate for this, they may ask their driver to speed up.
This places a driver in a difficult position because they risk getting a poor rating if they don’t oblige. Speed is commonly involved in car accidents, so choosing to speed when they aren’t comfortable with it can be dangerous.
Reaching driving incentives is also an issue because it can cause a driver to work for longer than is safe. We mentioned fatigue above as being a serious problem and incentives can cause drivers to work while fatigued.
Any form of added pressure can be stressful, which can lead to rushed decision making and poor judgment. In some situations, this can cause an accident.
Driving in Poor Conditions
Another complication for rideshare drivers is their tendency to drive during poor weather conditions.
Operators understand that many will choose to use a rideshare service rather than driving themselves during dangerous weather. Because of this, they know that there won’t be any shortage of riders and that it’s a great time to make money.
While this is true, it doesn’t change the fact that the weather is still bad. Even if they’re an excellent driver, dangerous weather can still cause an accident for even the most experienced drivers.
The greater the number of cars on the road during bad weather, the greater the chance of an accident happening. More drivers mean more possibilities for someone to make a mistake and this is something that you don’t want to be a victim of.
Stopping in Unsafe Locations
The last way that rideshare drivers can cause accidents is by stopping unexpectedly and in unsafe locations.
It can be challenging for drivers to find a safe spot to let someone out of their car. A parking spot is an optimal choice, but there isn’t always a convenient spot available for them to pull into.
As a result, many rideshare drivers stop on the side of the road or even in the middle of it. This is highly dangerous because cars aren’t expecting a car to be randomly stopped on the road. If they aren’t paying close attention, then someone can hit a stopped rideshare driver.
To avoid this, your best option here is to ask your driver to drop you off in a safe location. Don’t ask them to just stop anywhere or somewhere where cars will be driving past you!
Rideshare services are a great way to get transportation, but sometimes they can be dangerous. This is because the specific behaviors of rideshare operators can lead to accidents.
A few common reasons why crashes are caused include fatigue, distraction, pressure, driving in poor conditions, and stopping in unsafe locations. These are dangerous for any driver, but rideshare operators are often guilty of these characteristics.
You can’t always guarantee that a rideshare driver is safe, but you can refuse a ride if you feel questionable about them. Try to only accept rides from highly-rated drivers because this gives you a greater chance of getting a safe driver with a proven track record.