Scary uber/cab driver? What do you do?

Old Jul 22, 17, 6:54 am
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Scary uber/cab driver? What do you do?

I've taken many a cab/uber ride where something was slightly off. Too fast, tired driver, no seat belts (in developing countries), etc. Every now and then, a ride gets downright scary.

For instance, I just headed to PDX at 4am. I get in, the driver gives me the scariest story. A guy was killed in his car tonight. And it was bound to happen, because he'd had the same thing 6 years ago on the same day. He even brought the newspaper clipping from 6 years ago (taps visor, except there doesn't seem to be an article). Slurred speech, barely intelligible, can barely keep his eyes open, gets more and more agitated. We drive dark back alleys through a not-so-great area. As the airport approaches, I gently tell him he's had a long night, maybe is time to get some sleep. He tells me he can't go home yet, has to drive to some church and hand the suitcase of the guy who got killed to his parents, it's still in his trunk. (We arrive and there's nothing in the trunk except my stuff.)

What would you have done? I think the options are as follows:

- Do nothing and hope for the best (as I did and assume most people would have done)
- Ask him to pull over at an open business (one gas station and two 7/11s on this 10 mile route). There might be issues retrieving stuff from the trunk, and he might not let you go. There may not be a supportive crowd at these not-so-great area businesses at 4am.
- Get out at a red light. Deserted street, probably not a great idea.
- Call for help (911?) from the car. Probably not a great idea, because the guy is likely to get more agitated as you talk to them. In this area, I'd expect a response time of 5-10 minutes, and in an unfamiliar location, I'd have no idea at all.
- Text someone to call for help on your behalf. I can't think of anyone who can be expected to be awake at 4am on a Saturday, and there would be issues with relaying your location. And of course, getting the guy pulled over will at minimum cause some delays to your travel plans, and potentially involve you in whatever goes down between the driver and the cops.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
I've taken many a cab/uber ride where something was slightly off. Too fast, tired driver, no seat belts (in developing countries), etc. Every now and then, a ride gets downright scary.
Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results seems odd. Why not use another service you have found to be trustworthy?
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Old Jul 22, 17, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by ft101 View Post
Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results seems odd. Why not use another service you have found to be trustworthy?
I'm a little befuddled by this suggestion. I travel to dozens of different locations each year. How could I have a tried and trusted transportation provider everywhere I go? I've certainly had bad experiences even when booking hotel limousines from 5* properties (dangerous driving, 120kmh during tropical downpour on rural road, etc). Anytime you rely on others to drive you, you may run into unsafe drivers (and the occasional crazy person). What I'm asking is, what do people do once they find themselves in such a situation?
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Old Jul 22, 17, 8:19 am
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How troubling. It probably depends on how much further I had to go by the time I was fully aware of the situation, but if there was much more to go and I knew a safe well-lighted or attended drop-off spot, I likely would have come up with a change of plans/ill story and said I needed to be dropped off sooner. I definitely would report the car/driver. I would have then called for another car for myself. Glad you are safe.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
I'm a little befuddled by this suggestion.
You're in your home location and you use a service that has let you down on many occasions. I question the logic of using them again. If not at your home location then your options may be reduced.


Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
What I'm asking is, what do people do once they find themselves in such a situation?
I know it's not answering the question you put, but if it makes someone think differently about how they book transport then it may benefit other readers.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 8:35 am
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If you're concerned about the driver, you could report your observations to Uber (long) after you arrive at your destination.

Did you rate the driver on the app?
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Old Jul 22, 17, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Did you rate the driver on the app?
and more importantly what was his existing rating?
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Old Jul 22, 17, 11:17 am
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Get out of the uber, and contact uber when you get home.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 11:58 am
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Had terrifying ride with Uber driver this week. He nearly sideswiped a bus, dangerously changed lanes, spoke little English and drove too fast even when I asked him to slow down. Fortunately, it was not too far from home. I had him drop me 2 blocks before my destination as I couldn't wait to get out of that car.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 11:59 am
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I've had this happen with Uber and Lyft

We found that the 4 AM rides especially to and from airports can be some of the worst. A few things to keep in mind:

- If your rating is below 4.8 on either service , be prepared to be matched with drivers with slightly lower ratings.if you want to try to improve your writing always leave a little tip.
- if you're heading out early for the airport, and you see that your driver has a low rating you can cancel and try to find another one.
- if there's a highway route versus a surface street route always ask the driver to go the surface street route if you have any concerns.
- as others have said depending on the distance you have to go, you can either ride it out or take action. The longer the ride, the more frightening it is obviously.

- when this is happened to me, a couple of times I've asked to be let off if I see an open store or something like that. I will say I've forgotten something,and try to stay as neutral and pleasant as I can. You can usually trust your intuition as to whether it'll be worth it to try to leave the ride or stay till the end.
- I also never put something in the trunk unless it's just a short local ride. Like if I'm getting groceries or something.

Someone this scary is this guy I might've texted a friend I don't care what time it is. Then friend can call the police if needed. The last thing on my mind would be missing my trip if this guy was exactly as you say there's no telling what he would do or would've done.

I've been using Uber and Lyft since they started here in San Francisco and I've had maybe a dozen bad experiences. But they've been bad enough that I always take the same precautions especially for longer rides.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Had terrifying ride with Uber driver this week. He nearly sideswiped a bus, dangerously changed lanes, spoke little English and drove too fast even when I asked him to slow down. Fortunately, it was not too far from home. I had him drop me 2 blocks before my destination as I couldn't wait to get out of that car.
What market was this in?
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Old Jul 22, 17, 12:14 pm
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Old Jul 22, 17, 12:29 pm
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Last week, my uber driver in Jeddah got into an accident in front of my home...though I had just gotten into the car. The company still had the nerve to levy a cancellation fee.

Apparently, if you don't have a dent in your car, you haven't been in Saudi long enough.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 1:16 pm
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If I don't like the vibe of an Uber/Lyft driver or they're not in the car the app says ("my normal car is in the shop right now"), I always send a message with name/description of driver and car/license plate to a friend. They do the same and send it to me. It's like a buddy system.

I've never had a story out of a horror movie like the OP. I once had a cab driver engage in a personal feud vs an Uber driver (as in overtaking each other in a risky fashion, cutting each other off) on the drive from an airport. The dude was speeding and tailgating the whole time too. He tried to recruit me as his witness as he wanted to call the cops on the Uber driver but I declined.

It's never a truly worry-free safe thing to get into someone else's car, but I guess the episode showed that applies no matter if it's a 'licensed' cab or a ride-hailing service.
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Old Jul 22, 17, 1:30 pm
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As long as they get me from A to B in one piece using an efficient route, I don't care how they do it. In fact, the faster they do it, the better. That's a very amusing story though... I probably would have encouraged the guy and started asking him questions about the recently deceased.

Just keep some situational awareness and you'll be fine. Leave a one star rating if you want.
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