Safety First: Driving for Dollars

Driving and delivering thru Uber/Lyft/etc. can be a tempting way to earn some extra cash this summer. Here are some quick tips to be as safe on the road as possible. 

The car is America’s favorite mode of transportation, but when it comes to East Falls and wider Philadelphia, safety is often lacking:  according to the BCGP, 21 people have died in car accidents so far in 2018 — that’s over 1 a week! Distracted drivers, DUI and plain old poor driving skills can mean danger for all of us on our city’s roads. If you drive professionally, you average even larger chunks of time behind the wheel, increasing your risk considerably.

NW Philly can be a scenic treat for drivers: historic East Falls buildings line boulevards, and the views along Kelly and Lincoln drives can be spectacular. On a beautiful day, a leisurely cruise down local streets can be heaven for yourself and your passengers. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. Driving is an evolving industry, and requires some vigilance to stay current on the latest tips and tools to up your game as a responsible, professional driver.

Responding to new driving trends

From new engines, features, and diagnostics to integrated digital technology, the vehicles on our roadways change from year to year. One of the biggest changes coming down the pike is automated driving. Research from nearby Drexel University suggests that automated driving could benefit public health, with driverless cars revolutionizing transportation. This could mean new provisions for professional drivers  to remain legal on the road, and also even introduce the possibility of an AI-led taxi industry — which would have obvious impacts on Uber/Lyft drivers.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that these services won’t employ drivers anymore. According to a recent tech article quoting a director at Lyft, drivers will continue to be a big part of Lyft, but in a different capacity, perhaps as concierges or providing in-vehicle services or enhanced experiences. “Technology will give us an opportunity to add additional services to our driving platform,” the rep explained.

Think UberEATS — instead of driving passengers, professional drivers may evolve into food delivery services, or offer luxuries along the way.  Amazon, too, promotes a a package delivery platform that could certainly evolve to partner automated technology with personal services only a human can provide.

Pushing your own technology aside

Professional driving often requires the use of multiple smart devices — and the temptation to use them while driving can be irresistible. Don’t do it! This is one of the biggest pitfalls for commercial drivers, and a leading cause of road traffic accidents. Across Pennsylvania, distracted driving citations are up 52% — thanks, smart phones! If you drive for a living, it’s crucial you learn to control your phone with voice cues. Hands-free helpers like Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc. will help you keep your eyes on the road where they belong, without losing contact with your clients, dispatch, and your ever-important GPS.

Learn the roads

East Falls is a veritable travel hub with easy access to Route 1, the Expressway, I-95, and both Lincoln & Kelly Drives. With great routes often comes great… traffic. Ugh! Not surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that congestion on the roads is a top cause of car accidents. It pays for professional drivers to learn rush hour patterns and make an effort to find alternate routes or simply stay off the road during certain times of the day, if possible. Learn to “drive zen” to avoid the tickets and accidents that often result when you’re frustrated behind the wheel (you’ll also save gas).

When your job relies on your vehicle, practice safety — and sanity! — first. Modern technology and old-school road problems can be challenging, but manageable with some flexibility and forethought. Driving for a living can be a fantastic source for seasonal/supplemental income. Let’s hear it for smart, savvy drivers in the Falls! Hope our tips here help keep you on the road to success.


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