My local Uber group met recently with a police officer who’s been stationed in the area of our local bar scene for the last 9 years. We were excited to have him meet with our group so we could discuss the changes in traffic through the bar area but also because we’ve had safety issues.
If you’ve read many facebook driver group pages (or news articles) you have probably read an occasional story about a rideshare driver being hurt in some kind of ruckus in the car. You may have read posts about picking up riders (or running errands for a pax) in some area that makes you think all was not on the up and up.
Our city is no different. We may not be Dallas or Chicago but we have had drivers injured during an in car fight between pax. Drivers making stops at seedy hotels waiting for a mystery “pick up” that was later “lost” between the seats in the car. And even a trip to a bad neighborhood at midnight with “wait here and turn off your headlights” as the directive. Naturally we would like to know how to handle these situations, or anything that comes up, in which we might feel “unsafe.”
Here is what the officer told us:
If a fight or other bad situation begins to brew while on a ride:
- Pull over immediately, don’t try to interfere or intervene
- Turn off the car & get out
- TAKE YOUR KEYS and phone with you
- Step away from the car and call 911
Police will prioritize your call based on what else is happening, they really would rather you call 911 then try to deal with it yourself. And in the meantime, when the passengers have discovered they are no longer moving you might have solved the problem.
If you are near an normally well policed establishment (here we have QT which usually has police but sometimes it’s McDonalds with community policing booths, or Walmart where police provide security) pull over in their parking lot. A well lit area is best of course.
If you feel like there is a drug deal or other unsavory act happening and you’re providing the transportation, drop off the pax as normal. Personally I would not wait, tell them you have another fare or something, but if you do wait and find that it’s a drug deal or other malfeasance, just take the pax where they need to go and drop them off. Once the ride is over (or when you get a chance to report) then do an anonymous tip to Crimestoppers. They may be watching the individual or location and you might be able to help. At minimum it puts the police on notice that there is something going on. Don’t be concerned that you would be in trouble if stopped with the “alleged criminals” or drugs in the back seat of the car – police know well enough that you were not involved. It’s when they see the same vehicles with the same people over and over that they get concerned.
Finally – if you’ve ever worked in a bank, restaurant, retail etc. any other place likely to be robbed you will already know this – just give the robber what they want and get them out of the car as quickly as possible then report the crime. Trying to fight with someone who is armed or otherwise a threat is never a good idea.
So this was the advice our group was given – I hope it helps you when you are driving 🙂 Bottom line, if you have a bad feeling about the pax at or before picking up, cancel the ride and move on to the next – experts will tell you your gut instinct (that little voice or the hairs on the back of your neck, getting that strange feeling) is usually correct!