Ride sharing drivers could fill a utility belt with all of the gear we need to give a good ride, and most of us won’t even start the apps if we don’t have our essential gear. We risk giving our passengers a reason to give us bad ratings if they catch us without the basics, so make sure to stock up. If you’re looking for new or better gear, take a look at the best deals below.
The must-have gear if you want to maintain a high driver rating
- Phone mount – Passengers will feel safer if you use your phone hands free
- Phone charger with cords – For you and your passengers
- Audio AUX cable – Your passengers may want to play their own music on longer rides
Comfort items that you might not need, but you’ll want
- Snacks, drinks
- Head rest, back support
Just-in-case items for cautious drivers (like me)
- Barf bags
- Emergency kit
A good phone mount for an Uber driver is durable, easy to use, stays in place and makes it easy to see your phone while you drive. If you’re like me, you’ll need to grab your phone from the mount when you’re parked to see the apps up close, and you’ll need to put the phone right back into the mount when it’s time to give a ride. If you can’t take your phone in and out of the mount without a fuss or if you can’t position your phone the way you like, it’s time to try a new mount.
These phone mounts stay in place, hold the phone securely, and look pretty good in your car.
- iOttie Easy Mount – Has a telescoping and articulating arm so you can choose tons of positions.
Audio aux cables
Whether you’re playing your own music or letting your passengers take control of the stereo with their own phones, you’ll need an audio cable to connect to the AUX port in your car. You’ll also need an audio cable if you want to use Uber’s music feature. Uber riders with Spotify accounts can wirelessly play their own music in your car if your phone is plugged into the AUX port.
Most audio cables run $5-10, but quality is all over the place and lots of cables break way too soon. Passengers might not be too gentle with your cable, so you’ll need a durable cable that won’t snap from a firm tug or two.
Recommendation: I use the Belkin 6-foot AUX stereo cable and it hasn’t broken or frayed after three years of hard driving.
Car chargers and power cables
The Uber and Lyft apps are notorious battery drainers, so you’ll need to have your phone plugged in nearly all the time if you don’t want to constantly worry that your phone is going to die. And passengers expect that you’ll have a cable for them too, so stock up on an extra cable or two.
You don’t need anything fancy, but make sure that the charger you get has high enough output (around 4 amps) to charge the newest smartphones.
- Car charger: I use the AmazonBasics 4 amp dual charger and it gets the job done. It has two ports so I can stay plugged in while my passengers plug in too.
- Charging cables: Amazon Basics iPhone lightning cable, Amazon Basics Micro USB
It turns out that a lot of people who need a ride at night are drunk. It also turns out that a certain percentage of drunk people vomit wherever they happen to be sitting, and sometimes they’re sitting in your car. If you drive the bar hours often, there’s a good chance it will happen to you.
I don’t feel comfortable driving late at night without my barf bags sitting in one of my seat pouches, so I was stocked and ready with these barf bags when it happened to me. When the drunk person sitting in my back seat asked me to stop the car on the side of the freeway, I knew right away she needed to puke. I snapped a bag from the pouch and pushed it into her hand as fast as I could. Luckily it all went into the bag, and I threw it out as soon as I could. I’m still patting myself on the back for that one.
Recommendation: Get these puke bags. You might not ever need them and your wasted passenger might not even make it into the bag, but if it works you’ll feel like a genius.
Most Uber drivers who are on the road for hours end up with back pain. More lumbar support can help alleviate back pain, so try a small pillow or one of these pillows created for drivers.
Front-facing cameras mounted to the dash, windshield, or rear-view mirror are becoming more and more popular now that they’re small and affordable. I don’t personally use a dash cam, but I know that many ride sharing drivers like to use dash cams to protect themselves from false accusations from other drivers when accidents happen. We drive a lot, so it’s smart to have dash cam footage as a reliable witness in an accident.
- Entry level, less than $20: 2.5 inch HD LED Dash Cam by Dowson
- Mid range, around $50: Black Box 1080p
- High end, around $150: KDLinks X1 Full HD, superior night vision
A lot of our driving is at night, so I’d recommend starting with a mid-range camera that works better in low-light settings. The cheapest cameras are a good way to get started, but you might not be happy with the quality of the night footage.
Getting any tip at all can significantly increase your income, but we all know that Uber refuses to integrate any tipping features in the Uber app. Creative drivers have come up with solutions that both meet the Uber/Lyft terms of service and motivate passengers to tip.
- PAX – An electronic tipping box that allows you to accept tips in either cash or credit.
My own setup for a night of driving
After trying a few different types of gadgets and brands I’ve narrowed down my list of gear to:
- Belkin audio cable
- Phone mount
- Amazon charger + lightning cable
- Barf bags
Readers: What’s your favorite gear? What’s your go-to setup when you go out for a night of driving?