As rideshare drivers, we sometimes know some quirky facts and tricks that make people give us weird looks or say “how do you know that?” The fact is, we’re always learning while on the job! From the quickest routes around the city to finding the best places to park and wait, rideshare drivers are full of inside knowledge. Below, senior RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook shares the “weird” things that drivers do that are actually very normal for us!
I have been a rideshare driver for over seven years, making me feel ancient. After that much time on the road as a rideshare driver, I now do things that other people (family, friends) find completely weird… but they’re not that weird to me, and probably aren’t that weird to you either.
Things like knowing how to get to popular destinations, the best places to pee, and more – when I mention these things to family or friends, they usually give me strange looks and ask “why do you know that?” Does this happen to you?
If you’re a new rideshare driver, don’t worry – you’ll learn all of these tricks too! And for veteran rideshare drivers, what are ‘weird’ things you know that the average non-rideshare driver doesn’t? Did I hit everything below? Share your thoughts in the comments!
- Knowing where the best late-night bathrooms are – that might be suspicious IF you’re not a rideshare driver!
- Rideshare drivers know to sit in unused parking lots vs neighborhoods, to avoid looking creepy
- As a professional driver, you learn all the best shortcuts and ways to avoid busy parts of the day/your city. Your family and friends begin to rely on you as their navigator!
4 “Weird” Things Rideshare Drivers Know That Most People Don’t
Where to Find Restrooms, Anywhere, Anytime in Your City
There is a time during every single shift, whether you are driving passengers, delivering food, or grocery shopping, that you will have to go to the bathroom. This seems like such a simple thing, but it can cause a lot of issues and stares.
One place I go to a lot, because I don’t usually have an issue with them, is Target. The restrooms are usually close to the front of the store. I can park, get in and out, and not have to walk through the store to get there.
What’s also usually close to the store is customer service, and in some instances security, who just see this guy come into the store, run to the restroom, and then come out. I’ve never been stopped, but people definitely look at me oddly.
A lot of restaurants and gas stations also won’t let you use their restroom unless you buy something, as they are for customers only.
How I typically get around this is when I get a food delivery, I will let them know I’m there, and then tell them I’m going to use the restroom while they’re getting the order together. That way they know who you are, what you’re doing, and don’t give you a hard time.
If you drive late, it can be impossible to find a good restroom that’s both safe and clean. In my area, there are a few rest areas off the interstate that I’ve stopped at late at night, or honestly I’ll just get done for the night and go home.
Driver Tiffané shared on RSG’s Facebook page, “Knowing where the LATE NIGHT bathrooms were, I could just walk into. They are saved on my Google map as: ‘Fav places to go.’”
Once you find those favorite spots that are easy to use, mark them in your navigation for easy access when you need a bathroom!
Edward mentioned, “Starbucks, and or car dealerships, just walk in and ask for parts department and they’ll direct you right to where the bathrooms always are next to parts, always clean fresh got towels in and out very easy.”
And while this trick might seem suspicious, especially if you’re married or partnered, it works too – fancy hotel bathrooms! The nicer hotels typically have a lobby with bathrooms right off the entrance. Depending on how you’re dressed for the night, you can walk right in, go and head out.
Parking Our Cars
When we don’t have an active ride or delivery, we try to save money, so we find a good place to park our cars and sit.
In Florida, where I live, it is very hot all the time, so when I find a place to park, it’s always going to be in the shade.
Steve on Facebook mentioned, “Knowing the locations to park/stage with a strong cell signal and (summer) shade… a sapling will suffice. Sometimes I have to compete with a taxi for that good spot.”
I also hate to be bored, so I bring things to entertain me, like books, video games, etc. So, when I’m waiting for a request I can do something.
One driver stated on Facebook that in their area Uber has put a surge area in a place that is impossible to get to, other than in the back of this neighborhood. So he drives into this neighborhood and parks his car at the end of a cul de sac.
All of these things seem innocent, and they are, but to others, they see people parked in strange places playing video games, reading books, maybe on their phone, and if I’m honest I may have napped in between requests before. It may look creepy, especially if you’re just hanging out in a neighborhood. So be strategic about where you’re parking to wait for a request to come through.
A shopping plaza in my area has parking behind the building in shade all day. Mostly just employees park there because to get to any of the businesses is a long walk unless you’re going through the back door. This gives me all I need for a good place to park, and no one to be weirded out by looking at me sitting in a car.
This one is far less likely to have people trying to figure out what you’re doing, but when you think about it, it can look a bit odd.
Most of us have had people claim they didn’t get delivered food, especially groceries. To protect ourselves, we recommend that you take pictures of everything, so you have proof when that happens.
But having a bunch of photos on your phone of random people’s houses, front doors, and addresses can seem weird.
People watching you drop it off probably won’t be concerned because at this point people know all about food delivery. In everyday life though, it can still seem weird, especially if you’re showing someone some photos you took of your vacation, and then all of a sudden there are random pictures of houses with food on the front porch.
One way to help with this is to download a separate app just for your gig worker photos. There is one for contractors called CompanyCam that, if they made a delivery driver version, I’d love to have it.
Knowing Backroads/Different Routes
One thing passengers may think is odd is when the driver takes a route different from the GPS. In some cases, the driver might have missed a turn, but in a lot of cases, the driver knows a faster route, around the traffic, to get you where you need to go.
Driver Janovia backs this up on Facebook saying, “Knowing all the back roads that normal people don’t even know exist.”
And Bryan followed up with, “One of the best parts of doing ride share.”
Once you know the roads, nothing can stand in your way.
Similarly, John said, “Know which of the five lanes I need to be in for my route.”
Only people well-traveled know where they need to be for the next steps. GPS can only go so far, and it often won’t tell you what lane you need to be in until the last minute.
While a lot of these things may seem weird to “outsiders”, you keep doing what you have to do to get by in this business. Every job has its quirks, and you can ask almost anyone about their job and learn something new.
For some reason, though, gig work sometimes is looked at suspiciously. Just because we know the best hotel bathrooms and quick ways to get around the city doesn’t make us “weird”, any weirder than nurses who know way too much about bodily functions or plumbers who know too much about things that make toilets back up.
If anything, we eventually become really valuable to our friends and family – like the one time when your brother-in-law needs the fastest way to the airport because he’s running late, and you’re the only one with that knowledge!
If you’re new to driving, check out our articles and threads to see what other drivers in your area do for clean bathrooms and other driver necessities. You’re not in this alone. We are a community of drivers and for the most part, we have each other’s backs when it comes to these things.
Be Weird My Friends
At the end of the day, we are driving to make money, whether we look strange to other people or not. Some still think driving at all to make money is a waste of time, and too dangerous to do.
You won’t make everyone happy, so just learn to laugh it off, and share with fellow drivers when people look at you weirdly.
What is something weird you do as a driver that gets you looks? Share it in the comments!
-Tyler @ RSG