Even though taking an Uber is usually a safe transportation option, there's no way to ever fully guarantee safety (and I'm not just saying that as the neurotic mess that I am, trust me). To lessen the odds of danger, Uber is upping their safety game by adding an entire safety suite to their app. In addition to creating a Safety Center full of information — as well as the ability to share your Uber trip with trusted loved ones — Uber just added an emergency button that can dial the police directly while giving them your location and personal information. So if you're not entirely sure how to do it, here's how to call 911 through the Uber app.
Whether you've been in a car accident or if you feel unsafe for any reason at all, dialing 911 through the Uber app is incredibly simple. Just open the Uber app to the opening map page, and you'll see a small badge icon in the bottom right hand corner. When you hit it, a list of options will appear that include "Safety Center," "Share My Trip," and "911 Assistance." Tap the one that says "911 Assistance," hit "Call 911," and then tap "Call" again. This will put you in direct contact with the police. The best part is that because of Uber's integration with RapidSOS, dialing 911 directly through the app will share your exact location and what type of car you're in with your local emergency center. This helps dispatchers find the distressed rider faster.
For one reason or another, a rider might not be able to tell the police their exact whereabouts, which is why this feature is so groundbreaking. Dialing 911 through a cell phone only gives emergency dispatch a vague location from the cell tower, and according to Uber's press release, 911 calls are sometimes routed to the wrong 911 center. To mend this issue, Uber will reportedly be partnering with National Emergency Number Association for a project to improve communication between 911 centers. Ideally, callers will more easily be connected to their correct local 911 center in a more time-efficient manner. Uber has put a lot of effort into making this project happen, and they're hoping it'll prove to be effective.
Alternative ride share companies, take note. Statistics show that approximately 10,000 lives could be saved each year if first responders could reach 911 callers just 60 seconds faster. Uber ultimately decided to pursue this project to help emergency dispatchers reach riders at least a minute sooner than before. The 911 dialing feature is set to start rolling out to Denver riders in summer 2018. Uber will monitor how useful and effective the feature appears to be, and if all goes well, hopefully it will spread to more cities. The 911 feature will also be available to Uber drivers in case they need it. I'm super impressed with Uber for doing this, because it really sounds like it'll come in clutch on multiple occasions.
Although taking an Uber is quite safe (more often than not), it's incredibly comforting to know that the app is taking extra precaution to protect its riders. Whether a rider needs to dial 911, if they need additional safety tips, or if they simply want family to know where they are at any point in time, Uber has their backs. Anything that could potentially improve safety is pretty ideal. Even though these new safety features will start rolling out this summer, they will hopefully be more widespread soon. Trust me: I'm always down for a few extra safety belts. Save travels, ya'll.