Safety is important, and it should be the first thing you think about in any job no matter how long you have been doing it. Being a taxi driver has an added need for safety because your time is spent picking up strangers and driving them around. There is so much advice out there for taxi passengers, but drivers need to protect themselves too. Here are our top taxi safety tips for drivers:
- Don’t Carry More Cash Than You Need. Only keep what you need in the taxi with you. If you can drop it off at the bank or your home during your shift, that’s great! If you can’t, make sure to keep any extra cash out of sight in the glove box, under a seat, in a bag, or in a safety deposit box. Large amounts of cash can attract unwanted attention.
- Stay Calm, Don’t Fight Back. This sounds like terrible advice, but it can help keep situations from getting completely out of hand. If you’re threatened, stay calm. You can defend yourself without raising your voice or becoming agitated; it’s difficult, but it can be a huge help in an unsafe or stressful situation. If you are attacked, defend yourself with reasonable force, but do not attack back. When a passenger is agitated, provoking the situation will only make it worse. If a non-payer gets out of the taxi, don’t follow them because taxis have been stolen in these circumstances. Whenever possible stay in a populated and well-lit area. If a situation is particularly bad, you can flash your lights and honk the horn to call attention to yourself. Call the police as soon as possible to report any incident.
- Work When You’re Comfortable. If you’re more comfortable working during the day with commuters, then work during those hours. Night-time behavior can run the gamut, and that can be daunting for some people or newer drivers. Some people are more comfortable working at night, and that’s okay too. Being comfortable is one of the most important things because this is your job. The most important thing is to only work when you are well rested and alert.
- Invest in CCTV and Telematics. Telematics systems do more than record your speed. These systems are a great way of protecting you in cases of accidents. They connect to CCTV cameras and record footage of any incident. These can be used in insurance cases to protect yourself from claims. The system will report the GPS, video footage, speed, G-force on impact, how you conducted yourself upon threat or attack, and more. They have been used to protect many taxi drivers from fraudulent claims.
- Insurance Is Key. Being insured is an important part of being a driver and especially a taxi driver. Depending on your country, region, and municipality, there are different laws and rules. It’s important to know what your rights are and what kind of insurance you need, so do a little research to find out what’s best for you in your area.
- And Finally, Trust Your Gut. If you have a bad feeling about a situation, follow it.