When you start out driving for either Uber or Lyft there’s an uncertainty of what you should carry in your car. Neither ridesharing platform is always perfectly clear, but they do recommend some items.
Of course, you may be a person who never carried jumper cables around, but now that you’re driving more, it might be recommended. But this isn’t something you might’ve thought of before.
When I started driving for Uber I was never given the sticker of the logo which goes on your windshield. I’m lucky I didn’t get pulled over for not having it. It would’ve cost me a hefty chunk of cash to pay for.
I saw other drivers had it, but I didn’t think it was important to have it right away. I was new, and Uber didn’t exactly tell me.
Don’t be like me; if you’re planning on driving, you should be prepared.
You also want to create an exciting experience for yourself, and the rider, with safety in mind. And, hey, it’s also a way to capitalize on higher earnings and ratings by carrying a sweet little variety of different items in your car.
Here are the 19 items we recommend having in your car when driving for Uber or Lyft:
- Toll Tag
- Dash Cam
- Phone Mount
- Gas Can
- Jumper Cables
- Pepper Spray
- Auxiliary Cord
- Phone Charger
- Barf Bag
- Air Freshener
- Large Towel
- Paper Towels
- Mileage Tracker
- Uber Sticker
Where’s Your Toll Tag?
Every area is different with the name. It’s called an EZ pass near Boston but a Fast-track near San Francisco. This is a device that will pay the toll electronically so you don’t have to worry about cash.
One advantage to having this is sometimes you can get a discount using them during certain hours which saves you money.
Another advantage is the fact when you’re driving you don’t want to spend the extra time scrambling for cash while you have a passenger in your car.
It would be embarrassing to have to ask your passenger for cash to pay the toll, plus you’re losing time on getting to the next rider faster to make more money.
Dash-Cam’s Can Protect You From Prosecution
Something I wouldn’t recommend for every driver, but there is definitely some comfort to have one.
With recent stories appearing in the media about passengers attacking their Uber drivers, it is better to have proof of the incident than a “he said/she said” recollection of what occurred during the incident.
If you are to get a Dash-cam, make sure to check with your local laws and let all passengers know they are being recorded.
Stop Holding Your Phone – Get A Car Phone Mount
It’s not safe holding your phone while driving or placing your phone on your lap to only keep looking down for directions instead of watching the road.
This causes a discomfort of safety for the passengers and could eventually get you deactivated for being reported enough times or receiving too many low star ratings.
Just be safe and grab a phone mount on Amazon for a reasonable price.
Don’t Forget The Gas Can
Common sense would be to fill up your tank before you start your day of driving. You just never know how far and how much gas you’re gonna use before you decide to head home.
The embarrassment of running out of fuel while escorting your passenger to their desired location would not be a good reflection on you, but mistakes do happen.
So, it’s better safe than sorry to have a gas can in case you forgot to fuel up and run out of gas.
It may suck for the passenger, but at least you’ll be able to get back on the road faster by already having an essential tool needed to fill up in emergency situations.
Need A Jump?
Cars die all the time, and sometimes it’s when you least expect it. When I went to Las Vegas I drove my girlfriend’s car (now ex-girlfriend). I told her to make sure the car gets checked by a mechanic before we drove 10 hours.
Even after the car inspection, the car died in the middle of the strip from a bad alternator. It was unexpecting and killed the battery.
You just never know when your battery might die and it’s best to be prepared by carrying jumper cables.
Keep A Great Defense With Pepper Spray
I don’t actually carry this because I don’t have the fear of being one of the unlucky drivers to get attacked, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry one just in case.
This is an item that’s needed especially for all the lady drivers out there. It can be tough being a 120-pound woman defending against a 200-pound brute.
While the likeliness of you being attacked is rare, it’s better to have pepper spray in case it does happen.
And who knows…Maybe one day this will save your life.
You can get a bottle that attaches to your car keys on Amazon.
Where’s The Music At? Get An Auxiliary Cord
Everybody loves music, and it’s even better when Uber passengers can play their own music. It’s inexpensive to buy and can give riders a much better experience which will lead to better ratings as a driver.
Plus, don’t you like listening to your own music from your phone or iPod?
Grab one on Amazon.
This is a necessity as a driver. Your phone is the lifeline of your job. If it dies, you can’t drive and make money. So essentially, you should already have at least one charger for your smartphone whether it’s android or an iPhone.
It’s best to buy the phone cable that you don’t already have so riders can charge their phone too.
Barf Bag- Clean Up On Aisle 6!
The likeliness of someone vomiting in your car is pretty rare. I’ve heard drivers say the chances are probably 1 in 2,000 rides.
But, this doesn’t mean you want to take the chance and be out of commission for the rest of the night. Barf Bags are inexpensive and will save you and the rider a lot of money.
You can even get some on Amazon for 50 cents or so a bag.
Water is an amenity a lot of riders love to have when in an Uber vehicle. It’s not too expensive either and most riders just like the thought but won’t actually take the drink.
If you don’t want to give it out to riders because of the cost associated with always keeping water in the car then you should at least save a few bottles for the very intoxicated riders.
It may just help keep them from getting sick in your car.
Gum or mints
Some drivers love carrying gum while others love carrying mints because it becomes a less sticky situation. All in all, this is another cheap item that could help improve your ratings as a driver.
It’s the little things that count and this is one of them.
With all the rides that you are taking, there are many different odors that will be running through your car. You don’t want people feeling suffocated with the bad smells.
So, it’s just best to keep your car fresh with a clean, nice smell.
I actually use a spray to help kill smoke odors in my car and it works great.
Sunglasses-Let’s Block The Sun
I usually drive after the sun is down and don’t actually need these, but if you’re driving against the sun earlier in the day it can be a pain in the neck to drive without something covering your eyes.
Towel For Service Animals
By law, you are required to accept service animals into your car without question. Of course, some of these furry friends can make a mess that you may not be happy about.
If you lay down a towel when animals get into your car there will be less of a mess to pick up.
Not every driver allows drinks to be opened in their car, but you also have passengers that don’t even bother to ask if it’s OK. Sometimes accidents happen and somebody will spill something.
Paper towels are great to help clean the spill up quickly before something gets stained from soaking into the fabric.
Be sure to take photos of any messes passengers create so you can be compensated.
Mileage Log For Taxes
This is to help save you money at the end of the year when you do your taxes. The federal tax deduction is 0.565 cents per mile. Since you’re driving a lot these miles will add up quickly.
Having a log will make sure that you get the correct tax deduction at the end of the year which helps keep more money in your pocket.
There are plenty of apps that allow you to track your mileage or you could be old fashioned and write it down in a mileage book.
$20 Dollars In Change
Not everyone gives tips, but some do. The problem is they’re usually only carrying a $20 bill and needs it to be broken for you to receive a tip. Carrying change definitely helped me get more money when I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten anything.
Plus, carrying change helps make it look like you get tips which may increase your chances.
Uber Trade Dress
This would be the thing that cost you the most if you didn’t acquire one before driving. If you get pulled over without having an Uber sticker on your car (Usually on the windshield) it could cost you a $1,000 ticket depending on where you live.
Plus, having the logo just makes it easier for riders to distinguish that you’re the right vehicle to get in.
Spotless – Cleaning The Vomit For You
If you are in San Francisco, this service may save you. I have never actually used it myself, but it is recommended by many drivers in the area. It’s a 24/7 on-demand car cleaning service meant for ride-share drivers in case someone got sick in your car.
They clean your car without charge and you don’t give them payment until Uber or Lyft paid you for the passenger getting sick.
They even advertise you will be back on the road driving within an hour of your phone call.
You can check out their website here. Just be sure to save the phone number.
just a few other items you should carry and probably already have in your car is a spare tire and jack. You never know when your gonna run over that nail that’s sticking up in the road.
And of course, if you live where there is a “real” winter then maybe get an ice scraper for your car during the cold months.
Oh, and don’t forget about maybe having a first aid kit.
While you really don’t need every single item here, having a good amount will definitely help driving feel so much more satisfying. You’ll feel safer, satisfy more riders, and help yourself keep more money in your pocket.
What items do you carry while you’re driving for Uber? Anything special?