Rideshare Rules: Experts' safety tips for riding with Uber
Following the kidnapping and murder of a University of South Carolina student, experts say there's one important question rideshare users should ask a driver before getting in the car.
That question is, "What's my name?"
"It was so tragic that young woman lost her life," Chattanooga Uber driver Marilyn Ashley said.
Now, the case of mistaken identity that led to 21-year-old Samantha Josephson's death is bringing on heightened awareness for other users of rideshare services.
"I noticed yesterday as the riders would get in the car, even the men, would ask 'Are you Marilyn?'. I'd say 'Yes' and then ask them their name," Ashley told Channel 3.
Josephson's body was found on Friday in South Carolina. She was last seen outside a popular hang out for University of South Carolina students getting into a car around 2:00 am. It was the car of the man she believed was her Uber driver.
"Oh, it breaks my heart. That is so tragic. I just think young people aren't aware of the danger that's out there," Ashley said.
That's why she said ensuring her own safety and the safety of her riders has been a priority since she began driving two years ago.
"I always check with them what their name is," she explained.
Uber is asking its users to do the same. The rideshare service recommends first checking for a beacon or glowing sign in the window with the Uber logo before getting in the car.
For riders traveling solo, they recommend sitting in the back seat of the car and sending your driver's info to a friend.
"You know, maybe there was just a little bit of caution there, but you just think well 'is this okay?' or 'not okay?'" Ashley said.
According to the rideshare service's website, passengers should also verify to make sure they're getting inside the car by looking at the license plate, make and model of the car. You can either do that inside the Uber App or by careful observation of the car.
Most importantly, Uber recommends listening to your instincts.
For more information on rideshare safety tips, visit Uber's website.