James has been driving for Uber for a year in the Chicago area. Let experience and "street wisdom" guide you through a safe Uber experience.
The Uber App for the Uber Driver
It may seem a little intimidating at first experiencing the Uber app for the first time. Trust me, I know. But let me assure you that it won't be long before you'll start to welcome Uber rider alerts.
Again ... trust me.
After you've downloaded the Uber app into your cell phone, you'll notice a very familiar-looking logo appear as an icon on your screen. This is the Uber app icon. It's about to become the number-one icon you press on your phone. You're about to fall in love with this icon.
Congratulations, you're now an Uber driver.
Before You Press GO
The Uber app seems a little on the "dark, but serious" side of things. It shows a map with a little blue arrow-shaped triangle in the middle, which represents you at your location. You're "offline" at the moment, but before you go "online", you'll first notice a large blue circle towards the bottom of the screen with the word "GO" in the middle. Don't press it until you're ready.
Accepting Your First Ride: Try Saturday Morning
In the comfort of your own home, wake up early Saturday morning and prepare for your first experience at "Ubering." Gather your things, get into your car, and buckle up. Plug in your accessories and place your cellphone, with the Uber app running, in your cellphone holder. Turn on any necessary lights and press that big blue button that says "GO" on your cellphone.
Don't be nervous. Take a drive around your neighborhood. Watch and get familiar with your Uber app as you drive around. When you're not driving, use your finger and move your map around to get familiar with what's even further ahead. Plan routes or just use your "destination" option. You can use this option just four times within a twenty-four (24) hour period, so use it wisely.
The Destination Feature
This Uber option is ideal to plan for long-distance destinations. For example, if you're an Uber driver from northwest Indiana and are certified to drive in both Indiana and Illinois, you can use your destination option and plan a route to Wrigley Field in North Chicago. The Uber app will plan with a bright blue line a route to Wrigley Field. If anybody wants to use Uber to go in that direction, you'll be notified.
I will definitely be talking more about this option. It's still rather new to me, so I'm figuring it out as I go. I'll be sure to let you know more in a future Uber article.
Driving Passengers to Destinations: Following Uber's Directions
That's all there is. There's nothing to it. Make sure your media volume and your master volume are turned up. Uber speaks very clearly and will tell you way beforehand what turn you may be taking up ahead. The bright blue line that appears on the map also helps when Uber is explaining destination directions.
Don't worry if you mess up! Chances are you are going to miss a turn, whether or not you have a passenger. It's better when you don't, but whatever the situation, Uber will immediately re-route your directions if you mistakenly miss a turn.
If you hear a grumble from the passenger, just sincerely apologize and tell them that this isn't a familiar area and you were pulled away from your normal "comfort zone."
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.
— W.C. Fields
Safety Is MOST Important: Uber Drives on Safety
Uber will not normally tell you to cross a double yellow line. Crossing over a double yellow line is illegal, though the rule is seldom enforced.
Picking up passengers on the left side on American roads can seem a bit awkward, especially on a busy street. In neighborhoods this is seldom a problem; on a busy city street, however, it can seem complicated. Nevertheless, Uber does its best to assure that both the driver and passenger are perfectly safe during pick-up.
Passengers are encouraged to look at the license plate of the Uber vehicle picking them up, and drivers are also encouraged to introduce themselves so the passenger may introduce themselves. If they don't, simply say, "And you are...?" Make sure you have the correct passenger.
The shared-ride program is a brilliant idea, but it may seem awkward to a lot of people. Traveling long distances using the "pool option" is a great way to save a few bucks if you're a passenger. This may make people a bit nervous...understandably.
Remember, everybody is on digital record. Everybody is cool.
Consecutive "pool-rides" can really pay-off for the driver. Uber offers promotions to encourage drivers to accept more-and-more rides. The longer you stay consistently online accepting rides, the more money you will make, obviously, but you may also receive a bonus for consecutive rides.
Future Uber Drivers
How to Keep Your Cell Phone Charged and Your App Running
Most if not all of your passengers will have cell phones, and some will be needing to charge the cell phone on the way to their destination. Not to mention that you'll be needing to keep your Uber app running, so you will want to keep your cell phone on the charge at all times.
Let me tell you how I have dealt with this situation as an Uber driver. You will need to find a way to charge multiple devices.
Three (3) extra sockets would be ideal:
- Socket #1 for the Uber sign that sits atop of your qualified vehicle
- Socket #2 for your charger
- Socket #3 for your passengers' convenience
You can get an expansion for your cigarette lighter that provides three sockets. Or you can get a two-socket expansion plus a gadget that makes it possible to charge two cell phones at one time out of one socket.
3-Socket Lighter Adapter, Updated Version
If you look at the item mentioned above, you'll notice that there are two (2) cell phone chargers as well as three cigarette lighter sockets. The reason I recommend this item is because that way I'm able to keep my Uber phone app running on a full charge as well as my personal phone.
Yes...I drive with two phones, even though Uber doesn't strongly suggest it.
I'll tell you why.
- You can keep your Uber app map on display at all times
- Meanwhile, customers or passengers can call you if they need to, for any reason, on your personal cell phone while you are doing (1) above.
In Case of an Emergency
As you drive, avoid distraction and focus on the road, and maybe you will never have an accident while driving for Uber (I never have, knock on wood).
But if you do ever find yourself in this situation, Uber can take care of it rather quickly. If you're able, swipe the screen up. Look for the option that lets you inform Uber that you've been involved in a car accident and/or you need some emergency assistance. Uber can contact the authorities and will be able to give them your pinpoint location.
Uber knows exactly where you're at; not to worry.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 James Timothy Peters