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Tips Every Rideshare Driver Should Know

Rideshare. It's a wildly popular and relatively new industry that's changing the way we think about transportation. Millions of people have become rideshare drivers, and even more have used their incredibly convenient services.

Here's one way to illustrate its astronomical impact: If you add up all the Uber trips taken in the past five years, the total distance covered is enough for a round trip to Saturn planet. Add this with the miles covered by Lyft and other companies, and it's easy to see that the rideshare industry is really going places.

The rideshare industry provides flexible work options that are appealing to many. If you have the right vehicle, a driver's license, a relatively clean driving record, a smartphone and customer service skills, you have the potential to be a driver. Of course, no matter how long you’ve worked in ridesharing, there's always more you can learn about being an efficient, safe and successful driver. That's why I've put together a list of five tips every rideshare driver should know:

#1. Drive with a Plan

As a rideshare driver, you have the benefit of setting your own schedule. Instead of deciding to go out on a whim, be strategic: set income goals, commit to a certain amount of hours per week and prepare a plan to optimize your driving time. Make sure you're aware of traffic patterns, surge price opportunities and other details about your area, like road conditions, airport demand and local event info. Know that early mornings and late nights are generally busy times for different reasons, and if driving in heavy traffic overwhelms you, avoid rush hours. Lastly, always be prepared with a full tank of gas, and bring snacks so you don't have to make unnecessary stops for food.

#2. Invest in Your Phone

Obviously, your phone is an essential tool for being a rideshare driver. It connects you with customers via ridesharing apps, provides a GPS system and offers countless other resources. Running rideshare apps and a GPS nonstop can drain your battery, so make sure you always have a phone charger. A dead battery equals a dead business! A phone mount is also an important investment—it will help you more safely view your GPS while maintaining full visibility of the road.

#3. Keep Your Vehicle Squeaky Clean

Your customers expect professionalism. Maintaining a clean vehicle, inside and out, is a simple way to give your customers the comfort of knowing they're riding with a professional. Get regular car washes, vacuum the interior and pick up any trash that’s left behind after each ride.

#4. Take Action If You Feel Unsafe

If for any reason a customer makes you feel unsafe, end the ride. Park in a populated, well-lit area, and let the customer know that you are cancelling the ride. If you believe you are in a truly dangerous situation, call 911. Afterwards, be sure to notify your rideshare company and follow its reporting procedure.

#5. Get Rideshare Insurance Coverage

A recent survey of nearly 1,000 rideshare drivers found that more than 90 percent don't have a rideshare-friendly insurance policy³. Many drivers may think they're already covered by their personal auto policy, but most are not. Generally, a personal auto policy isn't designed to provide you with coverage when you are working as a rideshare driver.

You may think, "Doesn't the rideshare company's insurance policy cover me when I'm working?" Well, if the rideshare company's policy does provide coverage, you may not have coverage for the time between logging into the company's app and getting matched with a rider. This means you could end up having to pay for damages out of your own pocket in the event of a claim.

To avoid a coverage gap, talk with an insurance agent who has experience insuring rideshare drivers. They can help you find a policy that meets your state's coverage requirements and that helps protect you every time you’re on the road.

Overall, always make safety your number one priority. Be patient and learn through experience. Reflect on what works for you and what doesn't. Soon you'll find your rhythm and excel in your role as a rideshare driver!

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