The most valuable thing I’ve learned as a driver for Uber and Lyft is a more defensive driving style. While driving for money or otherwise, you’d do well to assume that everyone else on the road is intoxicated, distracted, and bent on killing you.
Driving is probably the most dangerous activity you take part in. This is certainly true for me, even though I love to do things like ski through trees at a high rate of speed and climb crumbling mountains in a state of hypoxia. In reality, the drive to the ski resort or trailhead is usually the most risky part of the day.
While driving for Uber and Lyft, you have other people’s lives in your hands, so this advice isn’t just about self-preservation.
Many people drive for ridesharing apps on weekend evenings, when there’s surge pricing and a chance to make much more money. But that, of course, is when many people are taking Ubers and Lyfts because they’re drunk or otherwise messed up. But not everyone is being so responsible, as I’m sure you’ve seen on your local news report.
As shown in the graphic below from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, around 40 percent of all vehicle fatalities involve alcohol.
Now, I’ll admit that if you’re in Utah on a Sunday morning you’re less likely to meet up with a drunk driver than if you’re out on a Saturday night in Las Vegas. But drunk and drug-impaired drivers are just one of many perils you’ll face on the road.
The epidemic of distracted driving is one of my pet peeves, perhaps because I’m also a bicyclist and feel especially vulnerable. It’s worth remembering that this obviously dangerous behavior is not even illegal in many states, as shown in the map below, also from federal transportation researchers.
Below are a couple infographics summarizing defensive driving tips that you might find helpful. Pretty common sense stuff, such as staying sober, keeping your eyes on the road, avoiding distractions, and slowing down. But good advice nonetheless!