Los Angeles and Southern California are a traffic nightmare. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft offer a convenient, less expensive option with a few taps on your phone.
Because you are riding in the back seat, rideshare services also pose risks to your health and safety. Some are obvious while other dangers are less overt.
Look out for danger
Back seats are an issue because of poor design. Seat belts lack pretensioners to protect passengers, and there are too few airbags. The result? More head and chest injuries for passengers in the rear seat.
Some of the fault is with passengers. A 2017 study found that only 57% of passengers in hired vehicles wear seat belts. In passenger vehicles, the rate is 74%.
Look out for germs
Another study found that the average rideshare vehicle is transporting plenty of bacteria. The vehicles carry three times as many germs as the average toothbrush holder, 219 times as many germs as the average taxi and 35,000 times as many germs as the average toilet seat.
Infected with the most bacteria are window buttons, seat belts and door handles. You can also pick up germs if your driver is sick, which could cause you to become sick and have to take time off work, negatively impacting your income.
Look out for yourself
You can protect yourself from injuries in a rideshare accident by wearing your seatbelt. Rear seat belts need improvements, but wearing them is better than not buckling up at all.
Germs are more problematic. You can carry hand sanitizer with you, although that is impractical. The Uber app offers customers the option of rating a vehicle’s condition. The rating can have an impact on the driver’s future employment with the ride-hailing service.
For now, you have to rely on rideshare drivers to keep their vehicles clean. Auto industry researchers are looking into easy-to-clean materials. Additionally, cleaning companies are working on treatments to protect passenger health.
Put Experience On Your Side