Monday, February 02, 2015

The Health Effects of Ridesharing Services

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Ridesharing drivers must deal with numerous health risks on the road. It is not fun and games out there, especially when ride technology companies make ridesharing jobs appear easy and profitable. This misperception is misleading new drivers into becoming ridesharing drivers. As a result of withholding this information, these drivers are driving their health into the ground. Take precautions to protect yourself from exhaustion and sick clients. What are the potential health effects of performing ridesharing services?

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are trendy. The main appeal of ridesharing is that people like yourself can work when you want and wherever you want. Freelancers who depend on a steady cash flow can get on the road to supplement their income. Ridesharing is a good part-time job for college students. Ridesharing can make you extra income. There is a catch, though.

As Captain Obvious would say, ridesharing drivers are trapped into driving many hours based on pricing wars. Ridesharing competitors are forced to reduce prices or face losing business. What happens here is that drivers are overworking themselves to make up for this severe price drop. Higher commission, $1 safe ride fees, airport toll, and other expenses dictate the frequency of driving.

The more ridesharing drivers get on the road, the greater chance they will ruin their health. In San Francisco, there are no restrooms to use at night. Homeless people influenced stores to lock their restroom doors. If you haven't noticed yet, San Francisco is losing the battle with homelessness. It has been a severe problem for many decades and will likely continue to drag down this city. Tourists recognize this dark aspect (homeless) of San Francisco as classless and restrictive. We can thank the homeless for business locking restroom doors. Why is this a health problem?

Ridesharing is a tough job. Drivers understand they must increase their hours to make up the difference in lost earnings, impacted by ridesharing companies bottoming out fares to appeal to riders. This is the wrong strategy to dominate the ridesharing market. Most drivers have no choice to keep driving long hours. It was their mistake to finance new vehicles and this compromised them. The cost to operate as a ridesharing driver is extremely expensive.

Ridesharing companies can operate under this industry because they don't have to worry about wear and tear, gas, tolls, cellular phone bills and all expenses related to ridesharing. If you haven't noticed yet, drivers must use their personal phones to make calls and send text messages. Drivers are expected to offer water and snacks. What happens when prices are further reduced? Drivers will drive longer hours to make up for this difference. They won't take breaks. Thanks to homeless people, drivers don't have a restroom to use at night. Are you catching on to the potential health risks of ridesharing?

Lets continue on with the real facts. Ridesharing drivers don't have a restroom to use at night. Mostly all stores, in not all in San Francisco, lock their restroom doors. There is no restroom in the city to use. Uber seems to focus on drivers getting out there, that they lack any common sense that drivers need a restroom to use. We didn't see Uber mention restroom on New Year's Eve and early New Year's Day. The truth is they don't care if you use the restroom. All they want you to do is give rides. However, Sidecar cares about their drivers enough that they designated a break station to provide restroom facilities, drinks, and sneaks. Remember, ridesharing drivers are not machines.

Why are restrooms a health problem? Like New York City taxi drivers, ridesharing drivers in San Francisco don't have a restroom facility at their disposal. It is another reason to avoid driving at night. The homeless problem influenced mostly all stores and gas stations to lock their restroom doors. Keep in mind, drivers are driving their health into the dumps. Think for a second how bad it is to keep holding and not using the restroom. To make this health matter worse, quite a few ridesharing drivers are probably reducing their fluid intake to dehydrate themselves and discourage the urge to urinate.

Ridesharing drivers hold their urine, reduce fluid intake, sit for long periods of times, drive when tired and exhausted, lack of movement, poor diet, and are exposed to some sick and infectious riders.

What health effects are possible as a ridesharing driver? 
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
  • Kidney Stones (see UTI and low fluid intake). 
  • Dehydration (many health risks involved in this category). 
  • Exhaustion (psychological issues, job burnout and health deterioration)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (may be in result of and due to increased risk due of recurring kidney stones). See FitHog article on risk factors that elevate kidney problems. 
  • Sitting long periods of time (heart attack risks, poor circulation, muscle weakness, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, obesity - see 'sitting disease' and other conditions related to over sitting and not moving around). 
  • Scrotal hyperthermia
  • Hemorrhoids (see long sitting
  • Heat Stroke (see dehydration)
  • Muscle Cramps (low potassium, dehydration and other health conditions). 
  • Seizures (underlying health condition, low sugar, dehydration, and other health problems)
  • Lack of Exercise (many health effects)
  • Hypovolemic Shock (see dehydration)
  • Kidney Failure (see UTI, chronic kidney disease and dehydration)
  • Back injury (lifting large suitcases, riders requesting help listing items while moving items from one place to another location and other heavy lifting increase risk of back injury)
  • Poor posture (back pain and other health risks)
  • Poor circulation (see Restless Legs Syndrome and other health conditions). 
  • Neck stiffness
  • Migraines and headaches (high stress, pressure to perform, anxiety, and other underlying health conditions).
  • Cysts (hair follicles becoming infected, sweat with bacteria and other health issues associated with lack a movement - may require surgery). 
  • Constipation (poor diet, lack of fluid intake, holding bowel movements, and other causes)
  • High stress dealing with problem riders (see psychological impact, high blood pressure and potential violence). 
  • Jock Itch - fungal growth in groin area; excessive sweating, restrictive clothing, chafing, and other causes. 
  • Excessive caffeine intake from energy drinks, soda pop and coffee that may lead to other health conditions (see caffeine study here). 
  • Dental issues (excessive sugar intake, poor hygiene, and other mouth and teeth health issues). 
  • High sugar intake (may lead to many health effects).
  • Diabetes risk
  • Infectious disease exposure (riders who are contagious, disease is active, and contact is made).
  • Colds and Flu.
  • Hepatitis C
  • Spinal Meningitis
  • Mononucleosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome  

As you may now know, performing ridesharing services for long hours may in fact lead to numerous health conditions. Holding your urine many hours and dehydrating yourself may cause UTIs, kidney stones and other serious urinary system problems. Driving in the heat and reducing fluid intake to complete additional trips may cause serious health issues.

The driving force in ridesharing is making money. Ridesharing drivers may neglect their overall health to increase earnings lost from ridesharing companies reducing fare prices. They will make sacrifices to ensure this income is earned - whether refusing to use the restroom for 12 hours or more and reducing fluid intake to decrease the urge to urinate. It is becoming a widespread problem.

Data is manipulated to pass ridesharing off as fun, profitable and appealing. Whereas ridesharing can be financially beneficial, socially and morally rewarding and perfect for word-of-mouth marketing, there are health effects that are left untreated in this ridesharing movement. Know this, learn this.

The health effects of ridesharing are serious complications that may affect ridesharing drivers. Think about the impact of driving fare prices down. The deception in lowering prices is to increase business. Economic 101 tells any person that reducing prices require increasing production to meet this demand. Ridesharing drivers increase hours, stay seated longer, and hold their urine for extended periods of time. The top ridesharing companies, besides Sidecar, rarely address restroom facilities, especially at night. New Year's Eve is the most challenging night to locate an open restroom.

Do you think lower prices is increasing your earnings? How is it possible to make more money doing less work? That was once the ridesharing story, where higher fares and donations increased overall earnings. It was possible to earn good income driving during the busiest hours. But for the time being, ridesharing is quickly becoming a minimum wage job which accompany great health and financial risks.

The ridesharing dream is taking a backseat to competition. Ridesharing companies are overlooking perks (see hotel industry and shopping market) and choosing to compete based on price. When prices are reduced, drivers are forced to complete more trips, more miles, work extended hours, sit longer, delay restroom breaks since business are closed, consume more junk food, sugary drinks and increase caffeine intake, increase fuel cost, absorb a large financial burden, experience mental and physical stress on the body, and accept a slew of problems are introduced into this equation.

In the end, ridesharing drivers face a tough road ahead to make little money. The real value, the true is that drivers overlook the cost of ridesharing. They see the price of trips after completing rides. However, drivers don't notice fees and fuel cost that reduce earnings. For the most part, drivers once earned more in one day than in 3-4 days. Ridesharing companies utilized funding to offer no-commision and guaranteed hour bonuses. It takes manpower to provide ridesharing services.

Once ridesharing drivers are hooked and depend on ridesharing to make a living, ridesharing companies can jack up fees and begin to make a huge profit. Imagine the amount of money earned through charging a $1 safe ride fee. What was implement to help drivers offset the increase of commision is treated as a revenue generator to find so-called administrative costs beyond commission.

The real losers in ridesharing are ridesharing drivers. Their health, their personal vehicles and their safety are at risk. Executive, investors, and ridesharing technology employees remain in a safe haven; they make boatloads of money at the expense of drivers.  It is the drivers who suffer the moment price reductions are enacted to stimulate production.

Now that you have this information in hand, you can make an informed decision to perform ridesharing services. Don't push yourself to make money. Think about your personal health. Think about your personal vehicle health. Without the two, you will stall out.

Good ridesharing tips to follow: 
  1. If you get tired, pull over in a safe place and lock your doors. Sleep if you have to. 
  2. Take restroom breaks; find store with open restrooms. Watch your hands.  
  3. Drink plenty of fluids. 
  4. Don't hold your bladder, or else you'll regret this situation in the distant future. 
  5. Make sure your interior car temperature is set at a comfortable level. It is you who is sitting in this vehicle many hours. 
  6. Eat right; don't consume too much fast food. 
  7. Take a time out to stretch your limbs. Take a walk to loosen up.  
  8. Don't drive when exhausted and tired. Driving under these conditions may increase accidents. 
  9. Don't speed. Follow all traffic laws. Adjust speed and increase awareness to handle severe weather and road conditions. 
  10. Budget your finances to avoid financial meltdown caused by excessive driving and reduced fares. 
  11. Know when to drive and where to drive. Learn how to make money as a ridesharing driver. 
  12. Move around in-between pickups. Loosen your legs and bends your arms. Safely move your head to avoid neck stiffness. 
  13. Don't drive when you are sick. Dehydration, exhaustion, and other health issues may worsen your condition. 
  14. Keep an eye on your surrounding. Be vigilant to protect your riders and your safety. 
  15. Don't carry large amounts of cash or go to ATMs at night. This may increase your risk at getting robbed, injured, and even worse, killed. 
  16. Contact the proper authorities if you are involved in any acts of violence, assault and other violent events with riders and random people. 
  17. Bring healthy snacks to consume while driving. 
  18. Ask all riders to confirm their name or who ordered this ride for them. 
  19. Keep hand sanitizers available. 
  20. Use universal precautions to clean vomit messes. This may become an infectious cleaning. In such cases, disinfect vehicle to make it safe for future riders. 
Don't allow making money to ruin your health. Your health matters most. Protect it. Respect it. Good luck on ridesharing!

***Disclaimer: This article is intended as a personal informative piece to increase awareness about potential risks involved with ridesharing. It is not an article to replace medical advice or to undergo health treatment. If you experience any health issues and/or problems listed in this article, please contact your medical provider. In extreme medical emergencies, contact 9-1-1 immediately. In unsafe situations, contact 9-1-1 to alert the authorities. You agree to use this article as an informative piece. In reading the health effects of ridesharing, you abide by the intentions of this article. We don't offer medical advice, medical treatment and are not promoting medical services in this article. Read this article at your own risk. All links to health conditions are provided as resources. Keep in mind that all health effects are different in every situation. Use precaution to operate as a ridesharing driver. Thank you and good luck.***