Trust Your Taxi
How many of us though, actually know what to look out for when getting into a taxi? Are all taxi's safe?
What should a taxi driver be displaying?
1) Proper licence plates and a roof sign: If a taxi does not have the glowing 'taxi' sign on top of their vehicle, avoid selecting them. Yes it might be broken, but there's also a good chance it's a fake.
2) ID Badge: The driver should have their taxi ID on display in their vehicle at all times. Normally it is kept in a clear case and is displayed by the rear-view mirror. If the driver finds this distracting, it is normally somewhere along the dash. If you can't see it, don't feel embarrassed or out of line to ask to see their ID. This is your safety at the end of the day.
How to plan ahead
1) Book your taxi in advance: If you know what time you want to be collected and the location, book your taxi before you even leave home. Set an alarm reminder on your phone to go off 10/15 minutes before your due to be collected.
2) Ask for a description: Ask the operator details about the driver and the car i.e registration number, car colour, drivers name; any detailing which will prevent you from entering the wrong taxi
3) Set the fare aside: By placing your fare in a separate part of you wallet or in a pocket, this will save fumbling about in the taxi at the end of your night.
Don't get into the taxi if...
1) The driver doesn't appear to know details about your pick up: Check to see if the driver knows your details. If your unsure that this is your taxi, you can always make an excuse as to why you no longer require a taxi.
2) The driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol/drugs: If you have any doubts about the sobriety of your taxi driver, do not get in the taxi. It is not worth the risk. Call the taxi company or the police with your suspicions.
Once in the Taxi
1) Don't get too personal: A silent taxi drive can be uncomfortable, especially a long one, so naturally you start a conversation. Try not to give away personal details about yourself. Stick to run of the mill topics such as TV, weather and news.
2) Wear your seat belt: Many of us seem to forget about car safety once we are in a taxi, particularly belting up. Always wear your seat belt as you can never predict the actions of other drivers.
3) Sit in the back: If you are catching a taxi alone, always make sure you sit in the back of the taxi. If you did start to feel uncomfortable, this places a bit of space between you and the taxi driver.
4) Keep your phone in hand: If you're feeling anxious about travelling alone in a taxi, keep your mobile phone in your hand. Call or text your friends or boyfriend, even ask one of them to meet you at the front door or where the taxi is dropping you off. Phone someone and have a conversation with them, casually drop-in to the conversation that you're in a taxi.
5) Have your keys and fare ready: By doing this, it saves you fumbling around in the taxi or in the dark outside. Keys are also a great self-defense weapon if you are involved in an attempted attack.
There is now also this app called Cabwise, which is designed for finding safe and licensed mini-cabs and taxis. The app is currently only focused on London, but hopefully by the end of the year it will have branched out to other cities such as Edinburgh and Cardiff.
You may also want to consider investing in a personal attack alarm. They're extremely loud and can buy valuable seconds.
We hope these tips have helped you out and that you feel you are now a fountain of knowledge when it comes to taxis and safety.