Should Rideshare drivers take a defensive driving course now?

For most rideshare drivers, it’s been quite some time since we’ve picked up a driving book from the DMV. Right now could be the best time to brush up on our driving skills. With many drivers thinking about returning to rideshare, doing a DF course now would be a smart move. Whether you plan on returning to rideshare full time, part-time or not at all, taking a defensive driving course is something we can do for ourselves and our families.  

DF courses have been around for a long time but now there are more choices than ever, thanks to virtual learning. AAA offers an online option that can be completed in just 6 hours from a certified instructor. In many areas, they offer in-person classes if you are a AAA member. Be sure to check with your local office for further details.  

Taking one of these courses can remind you of some of those important laws we may have forgotten. They also include tips on how to handle road rage, drowsy driving, and more. Quite often your insurance carrier will provide a discount on your premiums for completing such a course. While carriers like Geico have their own courses available. In some states, carriers are even required to give you discounts for doing so. 

No matter who your carrier is, it is worth the time to inquire with your insurance company and complete a course. It will improve your knowledge and make you a safer driver and potentially save you mon

6 things to look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself. It can prove you were not at fault in an accident. You can show Uber or Lyft footage of an unruly rider not  wearing a mask or acting inappropriately. It can also provide evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are so many models out there it can be overwhelming. So what are the features that are a must have us drivers?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400.. However, most of the features you may want as a rideshare driver can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p. It allows you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase, I prefer Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! Even though they do require a membership fee, the services they offer make it worth the price.

As more of us return to rideshare, protecting ourselves has never been more important!

Rideshare rider requests are up in Asia and South America, is North America next?

We have all heard of the financial woes of Uber. As far as ridership, Covid 19 has meant few people taking rides, especially here in the US. 

According to a recent article by investor.uber.com, Uber had a net loss of $968 billion last year. However, Uber did see its gross bookings(Uber rides) increase by 16% in Q4 over Q3. Riders are starting to come back online. This growth was mostly seen in South America and the few remaining Asian countries where Uber still exists like Singapore.

As Covid-19 vaccinations increase over the next several months one can expect the economy to improve. According to USAToday, the US economy is due for a bounce back. With an improved economy, one can expect ridership will increase here at home, let’s hope!

Next week: Uber may bring ‘Prop 22’-style gig work standards to the EU

New Lyft program – More rides but for less money

Back in September, Lyft began a new program called “Priority Mode”. So far the reviews of the program are not positive.

The program which drivers must opt in, requires them to accept a 10 percent pay reduction in the hopes of getting more rides funneled their way. According to Jalopnik, drivers who do not opt-in see fewer rides.

In a Mashable article, they call the program, “Lyft’s latest innovation in ripping drivers off.”

In a Reddit post, one driver wrote, “Now they’re pitting drivers against each other to see who’ll do the ride for the least amount?” “Can’t imagine the riders are paying less, so Lyft again is cutting their driver’s throat to take a greater cut of the fare! Way to drive away your workforce Lyft!”

In a CNET article, one driver joked and called Priority Mode – Poverty Mode.

With few rides because of Covid-19 and lower rates, it appears that rideshare companies are in a race to the bottom on what they are willing to pay their drivers.

Next week: Rideshare rider requests are up in Asia and South America, is North America

next?

Fewer drivers using their turning signals

As rideshare/delivery drivers, our workday is spent on the road. I know many of you share the same pet peeve I have, people not using the turning signals. 

Using your left or right blinkers is the way we communicate with each other. It is an important component in preventing accidents. In recent years, it feels that fewer people are using them. I decided to search the internet to learn why.

The Huffington Post back in 2014 came up with a list of 7 reasons, some of which include:

  • They are too lazy
  • They want to cut you off
  • They simply forgot

According to AutoGuide, the Society of Automotive Engineers conducted a study that concluded more than 2 million crashes a year are the result of people failing to use their indicators. The study reported that that number was even higher than distracted driving. This should be an eye-opener for all of us.

Even though the above excuses and numbers are a concern, the answer is pretty simple. We need to be respectful of each other and use turning signals. After all, the solution is literally at our fingertips!

How to prevent being scammed out of your Instant Pay account

There seems to be a pretty big uptick in a scam affecting us drivers. It may not be new but it is occurring a lot more frequently.

Someone contacts you pretending to be Uber or Lyft. They usually start off by saying something that catches you off guard. It might start with a compliment, like, “You are one of the top 100 drivers in your area and you just earned a $500.00 bonus.” Next they ask for your email, password, and details around your security question so they can verify your identity. They will then claim that the bonus will appear in your account in the next few days.

Another example is the scammer claims that your account may have had a security breach and they need to verify your identity. They then ask for your email and password attached to your Uber/Lyft account and again details surrounding your security question.

Both of these attempts are geared at gaining access to your account in order to drain away your hard earned money. Once they have access they will change your bank details, your password, and lock you out. The Rideshare Guy has a great video on these scams and more.

We’ve got to be on our toes. Uber or Lyft will almost never call you. Do not under any circumstance give out the email attached to your rideshare account or any details concerning your security question.

Think about updating your password to your account frequently. I know it can be difficult to constantly come up with new passwords. I like to use a password manager like Lastpass and it’s free for the basic version. You have just one login and one password to remember with them.  It will remember all subsequent logins and passwords for you and autofill them is the appropriate field. I find it extremely helpful.

Wednesday: Keeping track of those miles for tax purposes

What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare?

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself by proving you were not at fault in an accident, proof for Uber or Lyft of an unruly rider who chose not to wear a mask or is acting inappropriately, evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a dashcam, so what are some of the features that you may want to have?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400,. but some of the features you may want as a rideshare drive can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p which would allow you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range are now offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase I like Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! However, they do require you to pay a membership fee.

Wednesday: Car Wash Subscriptions

Would you drive for a new rideshare company if you were an employee?

More and more states are looking to place further regulations on the rideshare industry. There is a big push by governments to force companies like Uber and Lyft to make drivers their employees.  

But what if there was a rideshare company that started all of their drivers as employees? How many current Uber and Lyft drivers would give up their contractor status and become an employee? 

Yesterday a company called Alto launched in Los Angeles according to LA Magazine. They will  providing the vehicles, training, and W2 – status for all of their drivers. The article goes on to say, “The brand hopes its focus on safety will help people justify the additional cost—particularly during a pandemic. All the company’s cars are equipped with plexiglass barriers and HEPA air filters; between rides, the vehicles are sprayed with a “hospital-grade” sanitizing mist that’s reported to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.,”

It will be interesting to see if this business model can expand beyond just the LA Area?

Friday: Is decorating your car for the holidays a good idea?

Will a dash-cam in your car improve your ratings?

A lot of rideshare drivers who do not currently have a dashcam are currently looking for one. Now is a great time because so many brick and mortar or online retailers are offering some greater deals.  

If you are in the market for one of the cameras, I suggest you check out the post from July 20th, ‘What do you look for when buying a dash-cam”.  

Some of the reasons  rideshare drivers are making this investment include things like personal safety and false claims by riders against drivers. However, could owning one of these cameras have an unforeseen benefit? An article posted by Frontiers in Psychology, “suggests that people observed by cameras feel that their behavior is being evaluated, and hence might adjust their behaviors following social norms. Findings from their study indeed showed that people were more willing to assist others when a camera was present and visible.” The idea that people were more willing to assist could also translate into higher ratings for drivers. 

I did see a slight uptick in the number of 5-star ratings after I installed my dash-cam. However, I can not claim that it was a direct result of having a camera in my car. 

Wednesday: Would you drive for a new rideshare company if you were an employee?

Contacting driver support for both Uber and Lyft

We’ve all had issues while driving on our rideshare platforms. More often than not, we need to reach out to support. Both Uber and Lyft have more than one way to contact them. Below are the most up to date ways for drivers to contact support on either platform.

Uber

  • Through the driver app:
    • Open the driver app
    • Click on the hamburger icon(3 bars) in the upper left-hand corner of the app
    • Click on “Help”
    • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on “Call Support”
  • By phone: 800.593.7069
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uber/
  • Twitter: @Uber_Support
  • Greenlight Hub: To book an appointment at a Greenlight Hub that is open click here

 

Lyft

  • Through the driver app:
    • Open the driver app
    • Click on help
    • Search for a topic with the “Contact us button”
  • Online: help.lyft.com
  • Twitter: @AskLyft
  • The Hub: to find an office in your city go to https://www.lyft.com/hub/hours

Contacting support can require patents. Getting your issue resolved in your favor may require calling support multiple times and speaking with different representatives each time. Finding the right representative can mean the difference between success and failure.