Okay, okay. This isn’t about organizing – you got me! Nonetheless, this is a really important topic to me and one I think a lot of you ladies could benefit from so listen up!
Winter is coming on and for those of us in cities that means Uber season is upon us. We’ve all heard the stories, and as women we all know the kind of danger we constantly live in. So, as an early holiday present, here’s a few simple ways to keep yourself safer in Uber / private hire taxis.
Disclaimer: I think it’s absolutely sad and disgusting that so many of us have to think this way, but that’s the world we live in. While we continue to make strides forward, it is important to remember that our safety now is key.
1. Always Let Someone Know What You’re Doing
This one doesn’t just go for Ubers but for general life as well. If you’ve booked a cab and are about to begin your journey, let someone know. Even if that person isn’t going to be with you or at the destination. Designate a girlfriend (or any friend) to be your “Awareness Buddy”. Let them know you’re heading out for the night, where you’ll be (generally) and that you’re about to get in a cab or taxi and from where. Volunteer to do the same for them. If (heaven forbid) something were to happen to you, it’s important that someone close to you knows where to begin looking.
2. Sync It Up
Sync your phone to a cloud saving program like Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. When booking a cab, take a screenshot of the cab details including driver details, car details and license plate details. Make sure that screenshot is saved to your cloud device and make sure a trusted friend / partner can get access to that drive if needed. It only takes a few seconds and could save your life / be paramount in prosecuting an attacker.
3. By Any Other Name
This one is a bit extreme, but it’s one I use and one that makes me feel a bit safer. If you have a partner or spouse, use their details (WITH THEIR EXPRESS PERMISSION) on your account. This makes it appear as though your significant other has booked the ride for you and might be tracking the journey on their own. That works especially well if the name is drastically different from your own (gender specific, culturally different, etc.)
If you don’t have an S.O. – or don’t want to use someone else’s details – never fear. When the driver asks your name, simply tell them that’s your friend / partner’s name and that they booked the ride for you because you were in such a hurry. Same effect, less work. Again, always have permission.
4. Insist on YOUR Journey
If you notice a cab taking a confusing scenic route, speak up. A cab driver has to go where you tell them to. If you see them veering off course, or aren’t comfortable with the route they’ve chosen, say something. If they insist, get out (if it’s safe to do so). If they won’t stop (or it’s not safe to get out either) call the authorities immediately and tell them where you are / what direction you are going in. Don’t hesitate. Your body is sacred and your safety is key. If you don’t feel safe, do something immediately.
5. Be Prepared
Stay alert in your Uber or private hire taxi. Sit close to the door / be aware of the handles. Ask for the window locks to be taken off and crack the window a bit (weakens the window if you need to make a quick escape / gives you a means of communicating). Keep your keys at hand and make it obvious that you’re talking to / texting someone at your destination (even if you’re not). Signal to your driver that you’re confident and well-connected. The harder a target you appear to be, the more you might deter a potential attack.
Also know what self-defense precautions you can take according to your town / state / regional laws. I’m not talking guns, but pepper spray, whistles, flashing SOS lights, etc. are never a bad thing (if allowed).
If the current climate of the world has taught us anything, it’s that as ladies we can often fall victim to opportunistic predation. It’s sad that in 2017, we have to talk about ways to keep ourselves safe in a cab, but that’s how things are. While we continue to strive forward and make this world better and safer, let’s not forget to keep ourselves safe right here and right now.
If you like these tips, share them with your friends. If you don’t like these tips, let me know why. If you have favorite tips for staying safe, let me know in the replies!
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