If you have a love of meeting strangers, a tendency to keep your car clean, and you like being in control of an accelerating 2,000-pound hunk of plastic and metal, a career as a rideshare driver may be right for you.
But wait! Before you start chauffeuring for the people, make sure your ride is as memorable (and puke-free) as possible!
Behold: The 12 ways to pimp your rideshare.
1. Phone Mount
When you’re driving for long periods of time, it’s typically a good idea to keep your hands on the wheel, not your phone. But what about that glorious machine that gives you music and directions and even more rides? There’s a mount for that.
Trust us—both hands on the wheel is the way to go. It’ll get you there safer AND help your passengers feel more comfortable with your driving. Also, most of the time it’s illegal to drive with your phone in your hands—so there’s that.
2. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are a godsend long after you’ve passed the potty-training milestone. They’re gentle enough to use on all your car’s surfaces but strong enough to clean the toughest spills.
Make sure to keep a box handy in case of coffee spills, makeup stains, dirty shoes, and passengers who look like they could use a little cleaning up.
You never know when it’ll strike—one moment you’re driving along, the next, everything is a bright blur as you struggle to pull down your car’s sun visor with one hand, shading your eyes with the other.
Don’t let that sneaky son of a… sun catch you off guard again! Go buy yourself a pair of $5 sunglasses from the drugstore, or if you’re feeling fancy, a $400 pair from the mall. Most sunglasses sellers have UV-protective pairs, which can preserve your vision for years to come.
4. Air Freshener
Everyone burps. Everyone… ahem, “breaks wind.” And at some sweaty point, we’ve all emitted our natural fragrance—Eau de B.O.
For those moments where you and/or your passengers aren’t smelling the best, it’s nice to have some form of air freshener in your car. You may opt for the classic hanging tree or go for a subtler, under-the-seat freshener. Just do what makes scents.
5. Dash Cam
Are you feeling punked by a passenger or another driver on the road? Well, with a dash cam installed, Ashton Kutcher’s got nothing on you.
Installing a forward- and/or backward-facing dash cam can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you ever have an altercation with a passenger or are involved in a car crash, having video evidence of the incident could save you from fines and even jail time.
6. Electronic Toll Transponder
Don’t let unnecessary stops take a toll on your driver rating!
If you’re used to transporting passengers on tollways, consider buying an electric toll transponder. Installing one will keep you from having to stop at the toll booth AND makes keeping track of your toll receipts a lot easier.
7. Smartphone Charger
A group of girls hop in your car and immediately begin to prep for a pre-club selfie. A few hair tousles and lip smacks later, one pulls out her phone only to discover… the calamity of a dead battery.
Luckily, you’re prepared with spare smartphone car chargers (preferably one for iPhones and one for non-Apple products) and the duck-faced display continues without a hitch. Beside situations like this, having chargers in the car ensures you’ll always have a means of communication AND a great rating.
From beach days to bar hopping, water is a welcome oasis in the deserts of high temperatures and happy-hour escapades. Your passengers will thank you AND won’t be as dehydrated because of your foresight..
9. Chewing Gum
Maybe you just enjoyed a meal of garlic bread, onion rings, and anchovy-topped pizza when you receive a notification to pick up a potential passenger. Just as you’re about to accept the ride, you taste something… something pungent and fishy… your breath.
Chewing gum is a must when you’re sharing the small space of a car. There are even chewing gums out there made to combat motion sickness, which could end up saving the stomach of a passenger, and the upholstery of your back seat.
10. Nausea Bags
Whether it’s too many sharp turns or too many tequila shots, you’re bound to pick up Sir Barfolamew at some point. Keep your car clean and avoid having to pull over in the middle of traffic by having nausea bags handy while transporting passengers.
When you pick up a new passenger, you never know what situation they’re coming out of. At some point your car turns into a mobile therapist’s office; a passenger reclined in the back telling you about that girl who spilled her drink, the obnoxious guy at the bar who wouldn’t stop yelling at the TV, and the never-ending quest to live up to her parents’ expectations when a river of tears begins rushing down her mascara-stained cheeks.
If you’re at a loss for words, at least you can offer your passenger a tissue to wipe their tears (or blow their nose if it’s flu season). Even a small gesture of kindness can change a person’s entire day.
12. Pepper Spray
As a rideshare driver you’ll encounter people from all walks of life, certain walks being less pleasant than others. It’s important to have some form of protection for yourself in case a passenger tries to rob or assault you.
Pepper spray is a good choice because it inflicts non-lethal injuries and is almost guaranteed to subdue your attacker, even from a distance. Make sure you fully understand how to properly store and use pepper spray before buying some for yourself.
NOTE: Some states prohibit the use and possession of pepper spray. Check your local laws.