12 Lyft Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs

These 12 tips will help make your Lyft ride a smoother experience.
Updated May 21, 2024
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lyft logo on smartphone screen

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Ridesharing is an easy (and affordable) way to get around. Even if you have a car, it can save you the expense of finding parking and adding wear and tear to your car, helping you keep more cash in your wallet.

But ridesharing comes with its pitfalls, and not understanding the etiquette of hailing a Lyft can make for an uncomfortable shared-driving experience. 

Want to make sure your next Lyft ride goes as smoothly as possible? Keep reading for 12 crucial mistakes to avoid.

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Not double-checking license plate numbers

JHDT Productions/Adobe senior woman using uber service app

Many riders rely on car makes and models to identify their Lyft drivers. However, for your safety, it’s smart to double-check that the license plate number of the car pulling up to the curb is the same one listed on your app. 

If the plate number doesn’t match, you can decline the ride and schedule a new one.

Slamming the door

Roman Tiraspolsky/Adobe pink fiat 500 with lyft logo

Your Lyft driver’s car is their livelihood. Don’t do anything to make it harder for them to earn a living with it, including slamming the door, which can damage the windows, speakers, and door frame. 

Plus, slamming the door is just plain rude, which might result in your driver giving you a bad rider review.

Not getting in the back seat

Danon/Adobe woman reading on tablet in uber

Don't get into the front seat of your Lyft driver's car unless you’re traveling in a large group and there isn’t enough space for everyone in the back. Your Lyft driver is essentially operating as a taxi driver — and you’d never sit in the front seat of a taxi.

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Making a mess

piter2121/Adobe lyft logo on smartphone

No one likes a messy rider. You can be as messy as you want in your own car, but when you’re sharing someone else’s space, make sure not to leave any trash or crumbs behind.

Assuming you can bring a pet

Irina84/Adobe dog in car front seat

According to Lyft’s policies, passengers may bring certified service animals with them on a ride. However, whether you can bring your pet is up to the individual driver.

Since some drivers might be comfortable letting your dog hop along for the ride, make sure to notify your driver ahead of time via the app that you’ll be traveling with a pet. 

That way, they can decline to pick you up, and you can search for a driver who doesn’t mind picking up both you and your pet.

Trying to backseat drive

Sundry Photography/Adobe Lyft UBER stickers on car window

You deserve to feel safe when you’re in someone else’s car. If a driver isn’t following the rules of the road, you can ask them to pull over and let you out. 

But unless you’re in an unsafe situation, avoid telling your driver how to drive or even insisting on the best route to your destination. Let the driver focus on doing their job while you focus on enjoying the ride.

Sharing personal information

Sebastian/Adobe uber driver driving car with gps

Your Lyft driver doesn’t need to know your entire life story — just your name and destination. You don’t need to volunteer more information than that, and if your driver is fishing for more details, you can decline to answer or ask to pull over and end the ride.

There’s nothing wrong with a casual chat, and you don’t have to assume your driver is acting with malicious intent. But if anything starts to feel off about the conversation, it’s OK to trust your gut. Protecting yourself should be your top priority.

Not leaving a tip

ltyuan/Adobe man using Lyft app on smartphone

Gig work is grueling, and drivers rely on tips to supplement their incomes. If your driver arrived when they said they would and got you to your destination as quickly as they could, you should leave a standard tip on top of your baseline charge for the ride.

Not rating your driver

Tada Images/Adobe rideshare and ride-hailing apps

You aren’t required to rate your driving experience, but doing so helps Lyft reward good drivers. If you reach your destination safely and within the right time frame, giving your driver a five-star review ensures they can keep offering rides through Lyft.

It also helps passengers like you avoid potentially dangerous drivers in the future — if someone fails to follow the rules of the road, you can share that in your review.

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Being too vague about your pick-up location

luckas/Adobe Mobile with lyft application

The more specific you can be about where you’re waiting to be picked up, the better. Without explicit instructions, your driver might have to guess who you are or try to quickly switch across several lanes of traffic to get to your location.

Canceling when your driver is almost at your location

FellowNeko/Adobe lyft app on smartphone

You can cancel a Lyft ride for all sorts of reasons, but bear in mind that if you cancel a ride when the driver is nearly at your location, they don’t get paid. 

Most drivers understand that cancellations happen — but you can save your driver from wasting their time and fuel by waiting until you’re sure you need a ride to request one.

Not doing your part to stay safe

Luis G. Vergara/Adobe woman holding smartphone with lyft logo

Your driver is primarily responsible for following the rules of the road, but you can make their job easier by being safe yourself. 

Entering the car on the passenger side, looking for pedestrians and bikes before exiting the vehicle, and not distracting the driver from the road keep both of you safe.

Bottom line

lindaparton/Adobe Lyft Van in Downtown Detroit

By steering clear of these 12 pitfalls, you can create a smoother and more pleasant Lyft experience for yourself and your driver.

This not only helps ensure a safe and comfortable ride, but it also contributes to a healthy gig economy where you and your driver can both get ahead financially.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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