What To Do About People Throwing Up (Puking Or Barfing) In Your Uber Car

Every driver knows about it, worries about it, and talks about it. I know it was my one of my biggest objections to driving strangers around town with Uber. So, what if someone does vomit in your car while driving? “Popping your cherry” is what some people on the Uber driver forum, Uberpeople.com, call it when your first passenger throws up in your Uber car while you’re driving.

What to do to prevent an Uber car throw up catastrophe cartoon vomiting

I read somewhere that it is best to buy “emesis bags” or “barf bags”, as they are more commonly known, and to keep them in your car at all times. Some people keep them in their glove box and hand them out as needed, some prefer to keep them where the passenger can reach them.

They sell a box of twenty super absorbent barf bags on Amazon for about $18. I bought some for my partner who is an Uber driver. When they arrived I thought to myself “This is probably over-kill, especially for someone who usually drives during the days or week nights”.

It wasn’t a month into his work as an Uber driver before he had to use one to help a young woman who had overindulged on the drinks that evening.  She said she was feeling sick and he didn’t have time to pull over. He just told her to take the white bag in the door and use that if she needed to. She reached for the bag and thanked him. Next thing you know, she had her head right in it and was being sick. Thanks to my purchase, Rich’s upholstery was unscathed! Boy, was he glad that she used it too. She took the bag with her when she left and no harm was done. One small purchase saved a lot of hassle for Rich. This was on a Sunday afternoon, at about 4 pm.

What times is it most likely someone will puke in your Uber car?

I have read on forums that weekend nights, especially as the bars are closing, is the worst (best?) time for getting someone to puke in your Uber car. If you’re driving week days the odds are probably the lowest. It’s worth remembering that travel sickness, does not follow a clock in the same way that people’s drinking habits seem to. So, it’s not just those who have been hitting the bottle that might use one of your handy bags!

When you add travel sickness and general illness into the equation, along with drinking, you so shouldn’t be too surprised if it happens at any time. It’s definitely best to be prepared and have a few sick bags on hand. It’s best to dot them around the vehicle, out of sight but where passengers can easily reach them. On the bright side, Uber does help reduce drinking and driving, so maybe this is the price society has to pay.

What happens if someone barfs all over your Uber car?

What happens if you run out of barf bags or your passenger doesn’t get to one in time?  You need to:

  1. photograph the mess that the passenger made in your car when they puked
  2. get your car professionally cleaned and keep the receipt
  3. let Uber know what happened with a description, photo and receipt copy within one week
  4. Get reimbursed by Uber

There is a cleaning fee that Uber will charge your customer and pay directly to you which is between $50 and $150.

Will your car ever smell the same?

That’s a tough one. Personally I’m not too sure but you never know. It depends on many things such as the volume of unpleasantness on your upholstery and the time between the incident and it being properly cleaned. I managed to get some rotten crab smell out of my car once by spraying pet odor remover on the spot until it was gone. I have a very sensitive nose too. Some drivers recommend Ozium for the most unpleasant smells.


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  1. It’s easier to just use Spotless Interior Services. They come anytime, clean it, submit the incident report and don’t charge you until Lyft pays the cleaning fee. Super easy, super quick. I was back driving in 40 minutes

  2. My husband just vomited in an uber car and I am horrified! I can’t believe they don’t let you tip on uber. I would give the guy a huge tip! Ugh. This is so embarrassing!

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