We’ve all been there – from ignoring the ‘update your docs’ screen on our Uber/Lyft apps to drinking that second, ill-advised cup of coffee, mistakes happen while you’re on the road. Today, senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur shares the top mistakes he’s made in the hopes that you’ll learn from them and not make the same ones!
Even with 25,000 rides under my belt, I still make mistakes as a driver. From coffee drinking mistakes to neglecting rideshare insurance, I’ve definitely made a few mistakes and want to keep you from doing the same!
Below, I’ll outline the top mistakes I’ve made ever since I was a new driver to mistakes I’ve made as a seasoned driver. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes (or share your own in the comments below!).
10 Embarrassing Mistakes Even Veteran Uber & Lyft Drivers Make
1) Drink Regular Coffee And Then Pee Often
I really don’t know how this happens. I start off each day with a Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold-Brew. That typically lasts me about 5 hours. Since I start each day at 5 AM, I am usually ready for a refill at about 10 AM. By this time, the morning rush is dying down, and I feel good about taking a break after 5 hours of driving. Normally I order another cold-brew.
But sometimes, I see something on the menu, like a Caramel Macchiato, and I lose my mind and order it. Then an hour or so later, I have to pee real bad. It is so stupid!
Cold-brew does not have the same diuretic properties as regular coffee. I don’t like that feeling of having to pee, especially when I was just at a bathroom an hour or so earlier. It happens.
2) Forget To Wash My Windows In The Morning
Some days I think my windows don’t need washing. Then I drive in the morning sun and see all kinds of debris on the windows. The sun shows all. Why I ever skip this step is beyond me, but I do.
What should all rideshare drivers have in their car? Essential cleaning supplies – find them here!
3) Stop Exercising Which Leads To A Sore Back
After I have been exercising for six months or so, I tend to find a reason to stop going to the gym. I don’t know why I do this. However, over my life, exercising goes in waves. I really get into it, and then I fall out of it. Soon, my back, which was doing so well with the exercise and steam room, starts to ache again.
Fortunately, I now have a BackShield, which supports my back and keeps the pain away. Still, I am embarrassed that I do so well with the exercise and then I stop.
Use discount code RSG10 for 10% off a BackShield.
4) Forget To Update Documents On Time
This has happened on more than one occasion. I get those notices from Uber and Lyft: “14 days until this document expires.” I manage to ignore them, thinking I still have more time and more days to get the document updated. Then, all of a sudden, the deadline has passed and I can’t drive. I lose an entire morning, getting the required document, or inspection, and then uploading and awaiting approval.
I don’t know why I procrastinate. I did this more when I started, but I am still tempted to put things off. Fortunately, I was able to get a new driver’s license this week and upload it to Uber and Lyft prior to my birthday next week.
5) Take Long Trips During Rush Hour Traffic
Sometimes I get so angry when I don’t screen a ride, and I get surprised by a long trip across a bridge in traffic. What happens is I get lulled into complacency. Since most trips during morning and afternoon rush hour are short local trips, I then forget to check the address. Or, sometimes I check the address and recognize the street, but the street is located across the bridge.
This happened recently when I saw the address on Sacramento Street but the address was for Sacramento Street in another city.
Drat! With Lyft, it is so easy to check, but I still get caught at least once per week going on a ride I don’t want to take. I could ask the passenger to get out of the car, but at this point in my career, I prefer to drive the passenger and feel good that I did not cancel. Often these passengers are the most grateful (for they have already been canceled on) and will give a decent tip.
6) Driving Without Getting Eight Good Hours Of Sleep
I need eight hours. When I don’t get eight hours, I feel it. I am not as sharp. It is better for me to sleep in, start later, and have my full focus. However, sometimes I think I can push through with a little bit less sleep. Wrong! I always need the eight hours of sleep. Very embarrassing.
7) Forget To Turn On Both Uber and Lyft During Slow Times
I primarily drive for Lyft. During the busy times of the day, I can stay very busy just doing Lyft rides. In the morning, at about 10 AM, things slow down. Sometimes, I forget that I have the Uber app to help me find a ride quicker. I kid you not.
I will drive around for 15 minutes, angry at Lyft for not getting me any rides, and not once thinking that I should turn on the Uber app to increase my chances of getting a ride. Then I remember and turn it on. Some days, there seem to be so many things to think about, and then I forget the most obvious.
8) Don’t Help Passengers With Luggage
I get lazy. Some days, I get so comfortable in my driver’s seat. I am listening to a wonderful Dexter Gordon solo while the air conditioner is keeping me nice and cool, and then I see the passenger’s destination is the airport. Then, I see a man walking toward the trunk with a piece of luggage. Sometimes, a lot of luggage, like they went shopping using an Ibotta promo code.
Instead of doing what I consider the right thing to do and bouncing out of my car with a warm welcome and a hand out to take the luggage, I push the latch and let the guy take care of his own luggage. Most likely, I just lost a tip. I took the easy way out.
9) Get Angry With Passengers
It still happens. A passenger may be late, may start eating some food, or may ask me a question I don’t like. Sometimes, I lose my patience and when I do, I am not a nice driver. I don’t say “Have an awesome day!” Instead, I grumble something like “Bye.” Goodbye tip! Goodbye five-star rating!
You would think my sense of greed would stop me from being a jerk with certain passengers, but it does not. When I feel crossed, I respond in kind. But I am getting better.
10) Miss A Turnoff and Drive An Extra Five To Ten Minutes
This has happened twice in my entire career, but it just happened less than a week ago. Both times I had to go further down the freeway, get off, and then get back on the freeway to return to the missed off-ramp. I apologized to the passenger and made the drop-off.
It happens to all of us. Still, I feel like an incompetent fool when I do such a thing. I lose my concentration and then it hits me that I missed a turn.
Bonus: Drive Without Rideshare Insurance
I made this mistake when I first started driving in December 2015. I had made an arrangement to drive a friend’s Prius for one month while I tried out rideshare driving up in the Sacramento market. I wanted to see how I would like the experience while determining the earnings potential.
I did not secure rideshare insurance, which was a big mistake. Without rideshare insurance, I was driving at financial risk. Not only where there portions of my driving day for which I had no coverage, but I would also likely have any claim denied if I were in an accident.
Personal auto insurance companies have been known to decline claims if they find out a driver has been using his or her vehicle for rideshare driving and that detail was not disclosed. Rideshare insurance is typically only 10- 20% more expensive than personal insurance, and sometimes it is less expensive, especially if you use Geico in conjunction with Lyft driving.
Need rideshare insurance? You can get insurance for Uber and Lyft at our Uber/Lyft insurance marketplace.
I am currently earning 25 cents per ride just for using Geico rideshare insurance. This adds up to $100 each month in savings.
Key Takeaways for New Drivers
Things happen. We lose focus. We can’t be perfect all the time. I need to remember these things and cut myself some slack.
The important thing is that I am out there, driving, making money, doing the best job I can. As long as I put out my best effort, I can feel good even when I make boneheaded mistakes. Do I get embarrassed? Sure. But each day, I continue to get better and better. Be safe out there.
-Jay @ RSG