First off let me say that you can never be too cautious. That goes for both parties in this business.
There is nothing wrong with screening if it makes you feel safer. Some SP's ask for a recent reference from another SP, which most a re happy to provide. Others ask for a board handle and check out the person's posting history for any red flags. I've even heard of some asking for a photo of government issued ID, which they promise to delete when you show up. I personally would not agree to that but it's all up to the individual. What ever you feel comfortable with.
Another way to eliminate the game players is to ask for a deposit. Again this goes both ways. I would never send a deposit to an unknown lady but if you have a good reputation then it's not an issue.
As for giving out your address, this is completely unnecessary if you are doing outcalls. For incalls you can give a general idea. I admit I will often ask a lady what area she is in so I can plan my visit. Her area may dictate whether I can do a daytime or evening appointment.
If you are doing an incall, here's a suggestion. I once knew a lady who would tell the guy to come and park in front of a certain address and tell her what colour and model of car he was in. She could see it from her window. When the guy showed up she would then message him her actual address.
Your plan to have a friend drive you is a good one. Failing that you have someone you message when you arrive and then again once you leave. If they don't hear form you in a predetermined amount of time then they call you or the cops. You can even arrange a code word to use if there is a problem.
In the end most ladies will tell you that if your gut is telling you something isn't right, then listen to it. At the most you might miss out on a few hundred bucks once in a while rather than ending up assaulted, raped or dead.