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!

Double parking risks and possible solutions

We’ve all done it: you pull up to the pickup location and the rider isn’t there. You are going to have to wait, so you decide to double park hoping they will be there soon.  

Double parking is a common occurrence for rideshare drivers especially in big cities. It’s true that sometimes it seems like there aren’t any other options, and I understand. When this does occur, please use your hazard lights so other drivers know to go around you – but know you may get a ticket. According to Legal Beagle the fine for double parking is $165 in Chicago, $115 in NYC, and $110 in San Francisco. We are talking about a big fine on a fare that may only be $10.00. The rider will not be paying the fine! You made the choice to double park and now you are the one stuck paying the bill.

So what are the options to avoid these fines? Start scanning the block for a spot to pull into near the pickup location before you arrive. If you find one you can text the rider to let them know where you will be waiting. I like to use a business name so the rider will have an easier time finding me. Text the rider with something like, “This is your Uber driver. I am waiting for you in front of the Subway restaurant and I have my hazard lights on.”

Please don’t be that driver who just double parks even through there is a driveway or an open space for you to pull into. We’ve all seen it and it is so frustrating for all the drivers around you. Not only that but other drivers will be laying the horn on as they pass you for blocking traffic. Your rider will wonder why you didn’t just pull into the open spot even if it was just a driveway.  

Let’s all work together and double park as few times as possible. It will help lessen the frustration of driving for everyone.

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!

Car care and safety tips for rideshare drivers and more

Driving for a rideshare company means you are going on a road trip every day. Having your car prepared for travel is one of the best things we can do for our safety and to be successful as drivers.

Best Roof Box has an article that covers so many great topics like the right way to check the oil in your car, safety items we all should carry, and more. Even though the article is geared towards those taking a road trip with their families, there is still plenty of great information we can apply as rideshare drivers.

Monday: Are you driving for the rideshare or delivery app that pays the best?

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

Are you required to notify your passengers they are being recorded?

For rideshare drivers, dash-cams play an important role in safety. Having one in your car can protect you from false liability claims when in an accident. They can also protect you from a false claim made by a rider to their rideshare platform about you.

With so much at risk, it’s easy to understand why more and more drivers are installing them in their cars. But what about your legal responsibilities when it comes to the rider’s right to privacy? According to Wiley.com’s online library, 16 states require two-party notification whenever recording. Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington. This means drivers need to let riders know that they are being recorded in their cars. Amazon has a lot of signage options you can use to let your riders know.

If you are currently in the market for a dash-cam, check out the July 20th blog post where we reviewed what to look for when making this purchase.

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

Prop 22 – Here’s what Uber must now provide drivers in California

In November, California voters passed Prop 22 allowing drivers to remain independent contracts with certain guarantees. Other states are reviewing this legislation with thoughts of bringing it to their state. So what exactly does Prop 22 offer gig drivers?

According to Uber drivers in California will now be receiving the following:

Guaranteed minimum earnings:

  • 20% more than the pickup city’s minimum wage
  • $0.30 per mile for expenses.* 
  • No limit to how much you can make, but if you earn less than the guaranteed minimum over 2 weeks, they’ll pay you the difference automatically.**

Injury Protection:

  • If you get into a covered accident, Uber’s insurance will help protect you and your family from financial hardship. Benefits include medical expense coverage, disability payments, survivor benefits.

Healthcare stipend:

  • With a qualifying plan and an average of at least 15 active hours per week each calendar quarter, you’ll receive a stipend to help pay for your healthcare.
  • For both rides and deliveries, drivers will be considered active from the moment you accept a trip until the moment you complete it.

Other Changes:

  • Deactivation appeals
  • Safety course for new drivers
  • Required breaks
    • Required to go offline for at least 6 consecutive hours if you drive and/or deliver by car for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

It will be interesting to see which states will decide to follow the Golden State.

Friday: Car maintenance hacks

Tips to avoid being a carjacked victim

We have all seen and heard about rideshare drivers being victims of a carjacking. This is one of the most serious hazards that we face, Even though we have no control over the actions of others, there are some things we can do to lower our chances of this happening to us!

The Information Insurance Institute has compiled a list of seven things we can all do right now to avoid being a target:

  1. Always have your mobile phone handy—and charged.
  2. Avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas, such as high crime neighborhoods, isolated roads, and intersections, and desolate areas of parking lots. 
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay special attention to people who seem to be lurking or cars that suspiciously follow you into driveways. Call 911 and use your key fob or other car alarm if you feel a threat.
  4. Be wary of how carjackers lure victims. These include bumping your car, pretending to be stranded motorists, or flashing their lights as if there were something wrong with your car. In each of these scenarios, you might be tempted to pull over—only to have your car taken. Stay inside with the windows shut and the door locked and, if you feel a threat, drive to the nearest police or fire station. 
  5. Practice safe parking. Stick to well-lit areas. If you have any doubts about where you parked after the fact, find a security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
  6. Don’t sit in your car with the door unlocked or the windows rolled down. 
  7. Don’t stop at isolated ATMs, which might put you and your bank accounts as well as your car in danger. 

Taking these simple actions can go a long way in ensuring your safety and the safety of your passengers.

Wednesday, Dec 30th: What is Uber offering drivers in California from the passage of Prop 22

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?

Get your cleaning and PPE products NOW from Uber or Lyft

On Dec 31st, unemployment insurance will run out for gig workers which includes rideshare and app-based food delivery drivers. There is a small chance Congress may pass an extension or new legislation. However, if Congress fails to act, those drivers who have not been driving will be forced to return to feed their families.

With the rate of infections increasing at an alarming rate across the country, all drivers will be looking for sources of PPE(personal protection equipment). Store shelves in many areas are already empty of things like Clorox wipes.  

Both Uber and Lyft offer PPE to their drivers. The distribution of these products varies by company and from city to city. 

Click here for instructions on how to claim yours from Uber. 

According to CNN Lyft is providing drivers free PPE at its Lyft stores. Lyft also has a program to help its drivers purchase and install plexiglass in their cars. 

If you already have a supply but need to re-up or haven’t received or purchased your PPE, the time to act is now! Demand for these items is sure to increase over the next several months.

Monday: Where to pee?