In recent years, there have been several high-profile and frightening news accounts of assaults and other abuse suffered by ride-share drivers. It’s reasonable to question whether or not ride-sharing’s cousin, DoorDash delivery driving, is safe.
We’ve reviewed news accounts and driver’s statements to answer this important question.
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DoorDash Safty for Delivery Drivers
While there are common-sense safety practices that DoorDash drivers should practice, being a DoorDash driver is a relatively safe occupation or side gig. Not having passengers inside your vehicle drastically cuts down a driver’s vulnerability, keeping a driver much safer. The safety tips below, however, are crucial.
What Safety Tips Should a DoorDash Driver Follow?
DoorDash drivers have shared several tips for keeping safe while doing deliveries. A critical tip is to not go inside people’s homes, even if they ask with a seemingly good reason. Unfortunately, it just makes you too vulnerable to an attack.
To illustrate this point, I’ll share a similar experience from when I was a young waitress. A somewhat older-looking man, hunched over with his hand on his back, and wincing in apparent pain asked if I could help him get into his car. I was happy to help.
Luckily, however, it was near the front door and a more astute woman was watching over me carefully.
She came up to me, horrified, and explained to me that that was a known trick to get a potential victim close enough to a car to be able to pull them in and abduct them. She explained it’s very easy for a person to fake being weaker than they really are, and to prey on people’s good nature.
The advice to not go into strangers’ homes or cars (nor close enough to be pulled into either!) is still true. If a customer asks you to go into their home, just politely but firmly state that you cannot go inside their home, leave the delivery outside the front door, and politely — and quickly — leave.
I would also add to not be close enough to an open door to potentially be pulled inside, either.
Additional Tips and Advice
Other DoorDash drivers shared warnings about strange drop-off location requests. Make sure you feel safe wherever you are delivering. If you don’t feel safe for any reason at all, you can either text the customer asking them to come out to your car, if that would help you feel safer, or you can contact DoorDash’s support.
If the delivery location seems too isolated, not well-lit, etc., these could be reasons that you would want to reach out to the customer or DoorDash.
Of course, you need to be even more careful if you want to bring your child with you.
Another helpful tip shared by DoorDash drivers is that, if you do text the customer to ask them to come to you due to safety concerns, remember to start your DoorDash timer. If the customer does not come out to you within the time allotted, then the customer loses the rights to that order.
The DoorDash drivers shared that they were able to safely wait in their car, and if the customer did not come out to get their order within the time limit, the driver did not have any repercussions. Instead – besides staying safe –they still got paid and even got free food!
What Other Safety Risks Are There for a DoorDash Driver?
Just driving carries inherent risk. According to the ASIRT (Association for Safe International Road Travel), each year in the U.S, traffic accidents cause 38,000 fatalities as well as injuries to 4.4 million people that are severe enough to necessitate medical attention.
You can minimize your risk by making sure you are doing everything as safely as possible, but the risk that someone else could endanger you is always there.
Make sure you are doing your best to stay safe by keeping your car well-maintained, following all traffic laws including using a seatbelt, and making sure not to allow dangerous distractions such as using a handheld cellphone while driving.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a major safety concern. While the restrictions and safety concerns of the pandemic have fueled demand for food delivery, it also raises concerns for the safety of the delivery drivers themselves.
Fortunately, DoorDash does have a comprehensive health and safety plan and safety practices in place. Most deliveries are now contactless, meaning you drop the delivery off outside the front door or gate, ring the bell or text the customer, and leave without ever being physically close to the customer. You should also use sanitizer, wash hands frequently, and wear a mask whenever appropriate.
As long as a DoorDash driver follows reasonable safety practices, being a DoorDash driver is relatively safe.
The absence of passengers inside your vehicle greatly increases a DoorDash delivery driver’s safety.
Adhering to the safety tips above, however, is essential.