Motorists often secure Uber or Lyft rides specifically because they want to avoid an elevated risk of a major motor vehicle collision. They have had too much to drink or they are unfamiliar with the area, so they would prefer to have a professional get them to their destination. Although many people do reduce their risk of a crash by hiring a rideshare driver for help when they don’t feel like they should get behind the wheel, sometimes rideshare drivers are the ones making bad choices and causing crashes.
Although rideshare drivers generally need to have a good safety record to work on behalf of the app companies that help people hail rides, they can still easily make mistakes that cause collisions.
Distraction is the leading safety risk
Rideshare drivers often need to get people to places they have never personally been before. They will therefore rely on software to navigate. Needing to look at and interact with a smart device while at the wheel is a very dangerous form of distraction, and GPS software can be more distracting than people realize.
Even if the driver does not manually interact with their navigation system while driving and keeps both of their hands on the wheel at all times, they may find communicating with the passenger who hired them to be a source of distraction. Conversations can lead to emotional reactions or the social pressure to make eye contact through the rearview mirror, both of which could lead to a significant collision.
What are other safety risks?
Aggressive driving is a big issue with any for-hire driver. Taxi drivers and rideshare drivers often engage in more aggressive maneuvers than others because their passengers determine gratuities in part based on how quickly they reach their destinations. Operating in areas where someone has minimal familiarity can be another factor that contributes to crash risk, as drivers might turn the wrong way down on a one-way street.
Finally, fatigue is a serious safety issue in the rideshare industry. Drivers might moonlight as rideshare drivers, meaning they have other full-time employment. Those who have been on the road for hours, particularly if they have to work another job first, may become so fatigued that they cannot drive safely.
Ultimately, passengers who understand the primary issues that contribute to rideshare collisions may have an easier time identifying safety concerns and/or advocating for their interests if a crash does occur.