In some ways, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have made the roads safer for the public. In major metropolitan areas that see moderate use of rideshare services, there is often a detectable reduction in drunk driving collisions associated with an uptick in rideshare use.
However, the presence of rideshare vehicles also creates unique risks. Rideshare vehicles can and do cause major motor vehicle collisions, some of which can lead to insurance headaches for the people involved as there could be questions about who is liable and what policy should pay for someone’s costs. Those who understand the top causes of rideshare collisions may have an easier time avoiding one themselves.
Rideshare drivers have to straddle that line between what is efficient and what is safe. They are often very assertive drivers, and some of them cross the line from assertive to outright aggressive. Rapidly changing lanes with little warning, weaving through traffic and committing unexpected maneuvers can increase the likelihood of a collision with another vehicle.
Both communicating with a passenger and operating a device that sinks someone to a rideshare app are major sources of distraction. Drivers can easily cause a crash if they let their focus slip while in control of a motor vehicle.
Rideshare companies do have limits in place regarding how long their drivers can work, but those rules are not particularly strict. Being able to work 12 hours in a single day, for example, might mean that someone has gone a very long time without sleep and could display compromised ability at the wheel.
While rideshare drivers should understand the risk inherent in impaired driving, some of them become overconfident in their own skills. They begin to believe that because they drive so often and without any problems that they can engage in behaviors that are obviously unsafe, like drinking while driving. Some drivers may pick up shifts when fares are higher even if they know that their prior activities leave them in a less-than-ideal condition for driving.
Although many rideshare drivers become very practiced at navigating specific areas quite efficiently, their job will force them to travel to areas with which they are less familiar. Those on unfamiliar streets will spend more time looking around for intersections and street signs and will therefore have an increased likelihood of causing a collision.
Individuals who recognize the risks involved in rideshare travel can protect themselves more effectively as passengers and also when they are driving.