The new economy supplies plenty of opportunities to earn a living while being your own boss, and ridesharing is the best-known gig. You may already know the basic skills for pleasing your customers, but even if you love driving, being outdoors, and interacting with new people, prepare for some adjustments in your personal habits and to make a few lifestyle changes. Here is how to stay safe and comfortable as a rideshare driver, and ensure you stay sharp and healthy on the road.
Know the Territory!
The convenience of electronic devices, maps, directions apps, virtual assistants and the like has weakened our ability to know and read the urban terrain. While you can still depend on being electronically dispatched and guided to your fares and wherever they’re headed, nothing beats having a mental map of your city’s layout. Know the paths and patterns of traffic and how to get out of any jam.
Get Street Smarter
When it comes to personal safety, it’s preferable to learn through lessons rather than experience. But that’s not always the case. You might think you know your hometown like the back of your hand, but don’t consider that a given. Follow the news, talk with other drivers, and get a feel for high-risk areas. Keep your doors and windows locked when traveling through an unfamiliar place. Most of all, keep your eyes open and your wits about you.
One key piece of advice on how to stay safe and comfortable as a rideshare driveris to always have a lifeline between you and those who can help if anything goes wrong. In this, your smartphone is an invaluable tool. Keep it charged and turned on, volume high so you don’t miss calls. Keep a brief list of emergency contacts, including your dispatcher, a family member, emergency services, and whatever roadside service agency or mechanic/tow service you favor. Regular check-ins are a good idea as well, letting your contacts know where you are and where you’re going next.
Keep Hydrated, Eat Healthy, and Exercise!
Professionalism suggests not eating food or drinks while driving people around, but between rides make sure you’re enjoying healthy food. Stick to water rather than sugary and/or caffeine-filled drinks. Respect your passengers by not consuming food with powerful odors that can linger. Also, smaller snacks can go a long way toward fighting hunger and supplying necessary nutrients until lunch or dinnertime. Fruit, veggies, nut butters, trail mix, and crackers are all handy and healthy. Do a search for basic sitting exercises as well, so you can stay fit and relieve the stress of sitting for long periods of time.
Plan Your Pitstops
Remember the importance of knowing the territory? When creating a mental map of your area of coverage, mark off the public places where you can use the facilities. Think back to childhood and take mom and dad’s advice: go before you leave. When you’re out there driving around, however, nature can call at the worst times. Strategize and find the nearest city building or accommodating restaurants or stores with public bathrooms around town.