A Woman Driving Rideshare
Since I went to the trouble to document some of my experience as a woman driving rideshare, I figure I might as well go ahead and post them here. Only 20% of rideshare drivers are women, so I may offer a unique voice on the subject, if nothing else. Having been drawn toward male dominated occupations in the past, it’s no surprise that I did not consider it a factor in my choice to drive. I can tell you that female riders were VERY pleased to see me, a woman driving rideshare, and would tell me so. I was happy to learn that my presence helped them feel safer.
Anxiety and Driving Rideshare
What is surprising is that, I don’t think I ever make any reference to this fact in any of the videos, but during the year prior to my start as a rideshare driver, and for a time when I was in college, I suffered from pretty sever anxiety around driving.
And why not? Driving has obvious dangers, and I had been harassed on the road by more than one trucker when I first got my license back in Pennsylvania. The weather and narrow winding roads there didn’t help matters.
At that time, I had dreams of working in law enforcement and wasn’t going to let a silly phobia stand in my way. I took a sales job which required a lot of travel, and hit the road white-knuckling it across the tri-state area in an effort to apply the flooding technique to rid myself of the fear. I don’t think the fear ever did subside, but, at the very least, I wasn’t allowing myself to be crippled by it.
My driving anxiety lifted when I moved to Tucson, AZ., shortly after finishing college and after a brief stay in Buffalo, NY. The flat roads and wide open spaces of the desert put me at ease.
Here in Austin, the most anxiety provoking things for me are: construction zones with low visibility, flyovers, rain at night, and just too many people driving too fast. Of course, as more people have moved here to Austin, the opportunities for fast driving have decreased significantly, and we spend a good percentage of our time at a snail’s pace on our major arteries.
On a couple occasions, I did begin to feel panic set in while driving a customer. In those cases, I have quietly breathed myself through it, but it has affected my rating from those customers. One rideshare company in particular deactivated my app twice after customers reported that they thought I was “impaired”. I am no longer eligible to drive for that company, and they refused to hear any explanation from me, stating that their decision was final in any case.
I apologize in advance for the audio (poor audio is typical for early videos), I didn’t realize how loud my stereo would sound. I’m sure it wasn’t as loud IRL as it sounds on the video, and I like to have music when I’m…doing anything really.
I’d consider really digging in and fixing the audio, but I don’t want to spend too much time correcting this one, because it’s not very long, and also because posting it here may be the last thing I do with it.
Making these videos was good practice to get myself comfortable documenting my experience in video. I learned a lot, and I’m glad I chose to put my attention on it for a little while.
For those of you interested in the economics of driving for rideshare, the article below offers a summary of some empirical research, which is helpful when considering factors that affect driver earnings.
You can read more of my journal entries here.
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