As Travel Restrictions Lift, Here’s How To Stay Safe In Ride Shares

When it comes to staying saying in rideshares, especially when using popular apps like Uber and Lyft, we often think that the danger lies in the driver or potential accidents, but as the quarantine-related travel restrictions start to lift, a new danger has risen: the chance of being exposed to COVID-19. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t ever leave the house again or use ride-share services, but it does mean there are additional precautions we should take to keep everyone safe.

Be aware of the signs and symptoms

You don’t have to run for the hills every time you hear someone cough, but it’s important to avoid anyone showing signs of COVID. That means don’t get into a shared ride with someone who is coughing and sneezing, having trouble breathing, or showing any other signs of the disease.

Likewise, it is your responsibility to not use ride-share services if you yourself have symptoms or you’ve been around someone who is showing symptoms of the disease.

Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft | Smith Collection/Gado

What you can do to mitigate the risk

If you have to, or just want to, take a rideshare, there are some things you should do to minimize your health risks.

Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose is the most obvious and common thing that you can do to reduce the possibility of infection. You should keep it on for your entire ride, and some companies like Uber are even requiring drivers and passengers to wear masks.

The next thing you can do it to use hand sanitizer both before and after your ride. You can keep a small travel-sized bottled in your key chain or purse for easy access. The trick that most people miss seems obvious, but it’s a little hard to do without actively thinking about it. If you are traveling with a bag, purse, or another object, refrain from touching those items for the duration of your ride or use sanitizer before you do.

A worker cleans a sign in front of the Uber headquarters | Justin Sullivan

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Renting a ride-share car

There are also some private services like Turo that allow you to rent common or even exotic cars directly from the owner, which is a good option if you’re traveling.

Apps like Turo have given private owners instructions on how to properly clean and sanitize their cars for rental before and after pick up, and they have also given drivers and renters tips on how to do contact-less or contact minimized pick up of the keys.

Because you don’t have to be in the car with another person, this might be the safer, and best option if you are using a ride-sharing service while traveling, but it isn’t always a reasonable option if you’re using it to get around your home town.

Whatever the reason for using a ride share service may be, it’s important to do all you can to keep yourself, and the driver or other passengers safe. With just a few small adjustments on your ride, you can drastically decrease your risk of contamination, and that can make a large difference.