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Fewer left turns and intersection alerts are some of the new Uber driver app features in the US

Image credit: Uber

Fewer left turns and intersection alerts are just some of the new safety features set for the Uber driver app in the US.

According to Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Vice President of Product Management, the ride-hailing giants have made it their goal to make the ‘best platform for flexible work on Earth’.

Having sat down and listened to drivers working on the platform, Uber announced a suite of new product features geared toward safety in the driver’s seat.

One of those safety features includes reducing left turns which were highlighted as more challenging.

Kansal said: “Anyone who drives knows the challenges of making a left turn, especially in a busy city. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 22% of crashes involve a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection. We’ve now improved our in-app navigation to suggest fewer left turns. With just a few minor adjustments to GPS routing that have little to no impact on trip time, drivers who use Uber’s in-app navigation can enjoy a less stressful driving experience.”

Another new feature set to appear will also warn drivers when approaching partially controlled intersections.

According to NHTSA, a quarter of traffic fatalities and about half of all traffic injuries occur at intersections, and in 2018 alone there were more than 6,700 fatalities involving intersections without signals.

When a driver using Uber’s in-app navigation is approaching an intersection without a four-way stop, the app will now highlight this on the map screen with a message reminding them to ‘watch for cross traffic’.

Other features centre around audio recording expansions, a new video recording trial and in-app safety tips.

Kansal said: “Since the launch of Audio Recording, we’ve been exploring the ability to allow drivers to choose to record video using the front-facing camera on their smartphone, similar to a dashcam. Many drivers use traditional dashcams today, but those can require extensive setup and can come with a hefty price tag.

“On the other hand, the feature we’ll test is free and can be set up in seconds in Uber’s Driver app. Once it’s enabled, drivers can record both video and audio on every trip. When placed in a phone mount, the front-facing camera has a view of the vehicle’s interior.

“Because we built this feature on top of our existing Audio Recording technology, it comes with the same privacy protections—so no one, including the driver, can access the recording unless that driver chooses to share it with Uber.

“We are excited to test this technology with select drivers in Cincinnati, Louisville and New York City in the U.S., as well as Santos and João Pessoa, Brazil. Their feedback will shape the future of this feature.”


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