Uber – Inclement Weather

driving at night
Pink Sherbet Photography cc 2013 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

This past weekend, we had our first snowstorm of the season. That’s right. A week after New Year’s, when I spent several days outside in shirtsleeves, winter finally arrived. And many of us who rideshare – Uber and Lyft, as well as the food services – rubbed our hands.

But my car is tired, and I promised myself a weekend off a month. So a snowstorm proved to be the opportune time for me to take that weekend off. I simply rearranged my plans for this coming weekend through the week before Valentine’s Day. Sure, I missed out on some major surge fares, but the other drivers cleaned up nicely. Assuming their cars could handle the roads.

But it also proved fortuitous. This weekend promises a deep freeze – teens, single digits, and flirting with subzero temperatures. Last year, my nice, warm heater welcomed a lot of frozen passengers.

Bad weather is one reason a lot of people call rideshare or food delivery. In a former life, I delivered pizza and found rain, snow, high wind, and arctic temperatures sent people calling Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and LaRosa’s (the local pizza chain) in droves. Rideshare is no different.

Last spring, as Cincinnati began to experience flooding, I went out for what I thought would be a typical Saturday night. I had to be careful because the car hydroplaned several times. On a night I would normally make between $120 and $140 if I stayed on the road until 1 AM, I went off the road at about 10:30 with $200 in my pocket.

Money isn’t the only consideration. Your vehicle needs to handle the roads. You need to be aware of ice. I don’t do ice storms. You need to know if your car can handle high water or wet roads. And how are the conditions in the area where you’re driving. Plus, what kind of condition is your car in? Mine is due for some maintenance. While it can handle a deep freeze as long as there’s little ice on the roads, it likely would not have done well in last week’s snowstorm.

The other consideration is the driver. How well can you handle driving in a snowstorm, in a downpour? There’s no shame in staying off the road. This is the gig economy, and while you can’t make money if you don’t go out, the flipside of that is you work when you want. Or can. It’s the whole reason I made this my side gig.