Car Safety

Travelling Alone in Uber or Taxi? Play This Sound Next Time to Keep You Safe

Ridesharing has become the main way to get around the city, and although Uber has tried to introduce safety features, such as background checks for drivers or matching women with other women drivers, many of us have still felt unsafe when travelling alone in an Uber or taxi.

American actor Joshua Summerfield has devised a clever solution to keep women safe when travelling alone. He’s created a video you can play next time you get the ‘icks’ in the back seat of a rideshare. It starts with a ringtone and continues to a one-way conversation, which to the driver would sound like a genuine conversation.

Summerfield’s deep manly voice starts a conversation as if you’ve just called him, asking for your location and to get the details of the driver and licence plates.  He then says he’ll be waiting for you outside when you arrive, clearly deterring any untoward behaviour or intention. The best part is that you can follow the text prompts on the screen to ‘reply’ to the man’s voice, so it sounds like a real conversation with a boyfriend or partner.

Sound to keep you safe travelling alone
Source: Instagram @_joshuasummerfield

How to be safe in an Uber or taxi when travelling alone

The vehicle driver won’t be able to see your phone’s screen when playing the video, so won’t realise the ‘call’ on loudspeaker isn’t real. Joshua hopes it will spook drivers into doing the right thing and safely get passengers home, especially when they are travelling alone.

mum central

You can watch Joshua’s safety video below and also here (to add it to your saved collection for future use!).

Many of Joshua’s followers have been thankful for his safety videos, which include a video made for women who feel they may be harassed or are being followed, saying they have helped them in awkward, challenging and potentially dangerous situations.

One comment said:

“Can confirm, Uber drivers have not said a word to me when I use this.”

Others showed appreciation for his work and lamented the lack of good men:

“I wish there was a 1-800 number for good men to be on SPEED DIAL!”

Another comment showed sadness for the fact that modern women still need to be ‘protected’ by men:

“The most sad thing is, woman still need some kind of precaution because you never know the men you meet out there. What a wonderful world it would be if we had no reason to be afraid.”

Although many of us could call a partner, friend, or family member in these situations, the time of day or a missed call could mean we don’t have someone who will be on the phone in real-time to keep us safe.

Joshua has said the popularity of his safety videos has encouraged him to create a website with many other variations of ‘phone call’ conversations and different voices so drivers don’t become used to passengers using the same videos.

His caption read:

“Website coming very soon to purchase these #pov #ubersafetycall #savetissound.”

Given Uber has received an alarming amount of sexual harassment and driver misconduct complaints over the years, videos like Joshua’s is a step towards a safer experience for all rideshare and taxi passengers.

For further information on how you can stay safe in the backseat of an Uber, such as sharing your trip details with others or on-trip reporting, visit the Uber website.

For more information on how to keep safe in a taxi or hire car, visit Transport NSW, Queensland Government, Safe Transport Victoria, SA Government or your local government website.

What do you think? Have you had an unsafe experience in a rideshare or taxi? Let us know below!

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Avatar of Kylie Baracz

As a busy writer and mama of two little wildlings, Kylie knows what it's like to juggle All The Things. When she's not politely ushering out small children from her Zoom calls, her favourite place is snuggled on the couch with her family and a (probably lukewarm!) cuppa.

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