Don’t Get Too Friendly with the Cab Driver And 5 Other Taxi Safety Tips
Opting for a taxi instead of driving or walking is often the safest and most convenient option for getting around in a city. If you’re drinking alcohol, worried about parking or alone in an unfamiliar place, it’s almost always in your best interest to cab it.
Though hopping in a taxi is much safer than some other alternatives, it’s not entirely without risk. To mitigate those risks, it’s wise to keep these crucial tips in mind so that your trip is safe and sound.
1) Make Sure it’s Legit
Unfortunately, in many cities, you may be approached by an unofficial taxi when you’re trying to hail a cab. Never, ever get into a car that is not a legally registered taxi. It could just be an innocent person trying to make some extra money, but it could be much worse and there’s no reason to take that risk. It’s better to wait for a ride you know is safe.
Check to make sure that the car has all of the following before getting in:
- A meter
- A displayed taxi license
- A recognizable and well-known taxi company displayed on the car
- A lighted “taxi” roof sign
Some people really enjoy private ride-sharing options like Uber and Lyft – though the drivers are not officially taxi drivers, they have had thorough background checks and their movements are always monitored while they’re working.
2) Sit in the Back
I’ve heard some people say that they feel rude sitting in the back of a taxi by themselves – as if it’s communicating that they see the driver as their servant. Let’s get this clear: He or she is not your friend. You are paying a person to drive you from one place to another. They are doing a professional service for you and you need not worry about being liked
Not only is it accepted common practice for taxi passengers to sit in the back, but it’s also safer. When you’re alone with a stranger, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and to cut down on physical proximity. Besides, in many cases, drivers actually prefer for you to sit in the back because they consider the front to be their private zone.
3) Take Notice
The first thing you should do upon entering a taxi is to jot down the name of the taxi company, the driver’s name, and the driver’s identification number. In most cabs you’ll find all of that info conveniently displayed in the back seat. It might be easiest to just snap a quick picture on your phone. If anything should go wrong on your journey, you’ll have the information you need later. You can even go the extra step by texting that info or photo to a friend. This is evidence of where you were and when you were there.
4) Trust Your Gut
Just like your parents said, you should always trust your gut if you’re in a situation that feels worrisome. In many instances, our instincts kick in before our brain does, so we may feel fear before even understanding why. In this case, push your logic aside and listen to those instincts.
If something is telling you that the driver is unsafe, take the first opportunity to exit the car. Try not to get out in an isolated area, but it’s certainly acceptable to tell the driver to cancel the initial destination you gave and to just pay and hop out at the first place that seems safe. However, if there’s any kind of serious and immediate danger, just get out and call the police. You can always call the cab company later to explain what happened.
5) Don’t Be Too Friendly
It’s absolutely fine to chat in a courteous and casual way with your taxi driver, but don’t get overly friendly. While friendly banter may just be in your nature, you never want to imply to the driver that you have any sort of personal interest in them. Be polite – talk about the weather, a good movie you just saw, or the local sports team, but don’t reveal personal information, and never give out your contact information.
6) Be Ready to Go
As you’re approaching your destination, get prepared to exit the cab as quickly as possible. Have your payment ready, get your keys out, and make sure that you’ve gathered all of your belongings. Essentially, you want to minimize the time that you’re outside alone. If you trust the driver, ask them to wait for a moment to make sure that you get safely inside your home.
The fortunate fact is that taking a taxi is usually an extremely safe option. But you should always be cautious when dealing with people you don’t know. If you make these simple and easy tips a part of your taxi-taking routine, you’ll be doing a great deal to minimize your risk.
Author Bio: Jay Deratany is the founding member of The Deratany Firm and is a top Chicago car accident attorney. His passion for helping people extends beyond the firm and into his extensive pro bono work and personal philanthropy.