If you have a vehicle and a smartphone, delivery driving can be a good means of earning income. Whether you are delivering with an on-demand app like Postmates or UberEATS, or are delivering pizzas with a local pizza shop, you’ll find many options out there for work.
There are certain precautions to take into consideration, however, if you plan to start delivering. Here I’ve assembled some safety tips for delivery drivers.
Beware of Dogs
Just as it is with postal workers, who are infamously at risk of dog attacks, delivery drivers must be concerned about dogs and other animals at the homes where they are delivering to. If you see a large animal or a “Beware of Dog” sign at the residence where you are dropping off a delivery, consider calling the customer and seeing if they can meet you outside before entering their yard.
According to an article from WikiHow, if a dog approaches you and appears aggressive, stay calm and don’t run. If the dog senses fear they will feel more comfortable attacking. It’s also better not to engage with the dog, and to stay motionless. Only when a dog is clearly going to attack you should you speak to it in a commanding voice and tell it to go away.
There’s special equipment you can bring with you that deters dogs, but doesn’t harm them, such as a dog repellant buzzer or a fog spray. This should only be used if you feel a dog is aggressive and might attack.
In the event that a dog does attack you, seek immediate medical attention, contact the police, and if you feel it’s necessary seek legal action, certain states hold dog owner’s liable for attacks. It’s important to seek medical treatments and contact the authorities immediately to determine if the dog has a history of attacking or has a disease such as rabies.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
When driving for a service like Postmates or GrubHub, you have to use your smartphone in order to accept deliveries, get GPS directions, and communicate with the customers. When you are balancing out your time working from your smartphone with driving to pickup and drop-off deliveries, however, this can be particularly dangerous if you aren’t careful.
You should shorten the time you use your smartphone when driving to the absolute minimum, if at all. While waiting to accept deliveries, wait in a parking lot (where you feel safe) and don’t start driving again until you have finished accepting the order, plugging in your GPS directions, and texting the customer. Keep a dashboard mount in your vehicle so your phone remains in your line of sight while driving if using turn-based navigation.
It’s always better to pull over to the side of the road and take a couple of minutes of time out to use your phone while you aren’t driving, than it is to sacrifice your personal safety by using your phone when driving. Always drive safe and resist the urge to speed. You can expedite your time by working promptly when at the drop-off and pickup locations.
Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings
Delivery driving is a job that requires you to walk onto the private properties of strangers, which comes with a number of risks. Stay on your guard and use common sense when walking to and from people’s homes. If someone ever offers for you to come inside, politely decline and remain at their door- don’t ever enter someone else’s house or apartment.
If you are delivering to a neighborhood at night or to a region that makes you feel uneasy, minimize the time you are outside of your vehicle. Make sure you have pinpointed exactly where the house or apartment is that you are doing the delivery and call the customer before exiting your vehicle so they know you’ve arrived. If for some reason the customer doesn’t answer the door, go back inside your vehicle while waiting for them to respond.
Always prioritize your personal safety. If the the customers asks you to do something that seems unusual like deliver to an abandoned parking lot, trust your instincts and decline their request. Make sure to report any suspicious activity to the company you’re working with.
You Come First, the Food Comes Second
Remember that your personal safety is more important than someone receiving their food order, period. Should a customer make you feel uncomfortable or a situation arise that would jeopardize your delivery time in exchange for taking extra safety precautions, put yourself first. ALWAYS.