Safety Tips For Using Uber During Your Next Family Vacation

Rideshare services like Uber offer incredible convenience for travelers navigating an unfamiliar city or town. While not always the cheapest transportation option, Uber's accessibility and near-global availability make it appealing to travelers making their way through new destinations, abroad or locally. However, it's a different story when you're traveling with your family. Uber has various features in place to guarantee rider safety, including stringent screening processes for drivers, but if you're traveling with a group that includes children and seniors, it's only natural to think about additional precautions.

Uber has a comprehensive Safety Center that can be your family's rideshare bible; but first and foremost, the company recommends prioritizing checking your ride before anything else. It would help if you asked for the driver's name and cross-referenced the car make, model, license plate, and color with what's on the app to ensure your group is hopping into the right vehicle. Some cars will have brightly-lit Beacon signs to avoid mistaking them for non-Ubers, but it's important to still do your due diligence.

Double-checking the car is just the first step, of course. To enhance your family's safety and comfort further, you can also set up family profiles, request wheelchair or car seat-friendly Ubers, and take advantage of RideCheck.

Create a family profile for your whole group

If you're traveling with your family and know that your itineraries will diverge at some points of the trip, it's best to create an Uber family profile for your entire group. This feature allows you to add multiple members, have everyone share the same payment method when booking individual trips, and monitor real-time locations whenever someone books a ride.

You can do this by heading to Settings, clicking Family, and selecting Add Member. You can add up to 10 members; and as of May 2023, you can even include teens aged 13 to 17 years old. Should young adults in the family want to venture out on their own during the trip, this lets them book their own ride using their device. Uber assures they'll be matched with top-rated drivers, and other safety features like audio recording and PIN verification are also available for your peace of mind. Parents and guardians are also given the option to speak directly with the assigned driver at any point during the ride. 

"As part of our work, we were able to provide advice and expertise to Uber to help ensure teens have a safe experience from pickup to drop off," Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, shared in a statement. "By providing parents with safe alternatives to help their teens get around, we hope this will help create more equitable solutions for families facing barriers to transportation."

Learn how to request wheelchair-accessible rides and Uber car seats

If some family members need special considerations, like car seats and wheelchair accessibility, Uber can accommodate them. It just takes some extra steps in-app to request the right ride. If you want to order a wheelchair-accessible car, you simply have to enter the pickup point and destination, but before hitting book, make sure to select the WAV option at the bottom. That one extra step matches you with drivers who are qualified to assist people with mobility disabilities and vehicles that have built-in ramps and lifts. It should be noted, however, that only select cities have WAV cars at this time, including but not limited to Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, and Bangalore.

If you're traveling with young children who would need to ride in car seats, Uber has a car seat option that matches families with vehicles equipped with a forward-facing car seat that can cater to children over two years of age, between 22 and 47 pounds, and between 31 and 51 inches tall. A $10 surcharge is added on top of the cost of the trip, but rates are similar to UberX rides. This service is limited to New York City at this time; and to book one, you just have to find the car seat in the list of vehicle types in-app.

Familiarize yourself with RideCheck

Another nifty Uber feature that everyone in your family should know about is RideCheck. Familiarizing yourselves with it is especially important if some of you are planning to book rides separately from the rest of the group. Introduced in 2018, RideCheck is an in-app feature that is triggered when Uber detects something has gone awry during your ride. It pops up when you've been stuck in the same spot for an extended period or if it suspects that you might have been involved in an accident. "From the accelerometer, we know when certain spikes of force happen," Sachin Kansal, Uber's director of product management, explained the feature to The Verge. "It takes a lot to then take that information and process it accurately to be able to determine what it actually means."

RideCheck is available to both the rider and the driver. Once it pops up, both parties can select from a list of options, including contacting the police, getting in touch with Uber's safety team, reporting a crash, changing destinations, and more. Alternatively, you can also use it to let Uber know that everything is fine. 

Uber says that it continues to improve RideCheck to guarantee passenger safety. It would help if everyone in your family knew how to navigate it, so all of you can get assistance should the need arise.