10/13/2014 05:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

3 Basic Safety Rules for Using Uber and Lyft

Christopher Wurzbach via Getty Images

By Christine Wei for ShermansTravel

Who hasn't used Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, or similar transportation options in their travels? These car services are becoming more and more ubiquitous, and they're often the most convenient way to get from place to place in a new city. But we've heard a few strange stories recently that inspired us to share a few basic safety reminders.

The problem? Some passengers ordered cars using these services only to find that they were picked up by someone who wasn't their designated driver at all. (Don't worry, they all got home safely.) But here are three good rules of thumb:

1. Don't pull open the door and hop in before you actually speak with your driver. Not only is this unsafe, it's also rude -- and undoubtedly pretty shocking to the driver -- if you suddenly jump into the wrong car.

2. Ask your driver's name -- and make sure the photo in the vehicle matches up with the face.

3. Always check the make of the car as well as its license number.

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photo: Raido Kaldma