As a driver, I would recommend beginning each trip with a handful of questions in mind. Ask, listen, respond, and you’re on your way to higher ratings and tips.

1. Do you have a preference for the route?

As I noted in an earlier post, I think Google Maps is your friend and you should ordinarily let the app guide you to your destination since it’s really smart about avoiding traffic and picking the quickest route. Nevertheless, I still recommend asking your rider at the start of the trip whether they have a preferred route. Everyone has their own shortcuts and their own ideas about how to get from A to B. If they wanna control the journey, let them pick a slower route since the meter is running, so to speak.

2. How’s you’re day going? (Or something similar)

I’m not a talkative guy and have never been a big fan of Uber, Lyft, or taxi drivers quizzing me about my travel plans, why I’m in town, etc. Even so, I would recommend being friendly and asking something innocuous, opening the door for the passenger to start a conversation. If they want to then sit in silence or stare into their phone, fine. If they want to tell me their life story, so be it.

3. Is the temperature OK?

Everyone’s got their own internal thermostat and what’s cold for one person is comfortable for another. Early in the ride, I suggest asking your passengers if the temperature in the vehicle is OK. Let them know they’re free to open the windows.

4. Would you like any water?

I recommend stashing a bunch of small water bottles in your car and offering them to riders. If you buy ’em at Costco or someplace similar, each of the bottles costs pennies. But it’s a nice gesture and if it gets even a handful of passengers to tip higher, it’s a worthwhile investment.