As a taxi driver, you will be meeting a huge range of people from all walks of life as part of your regular work. Of course, most of your passengers will prove no trouble whatsoever. However, it is sadly inevitable that you will eventually encounter less-desirable passengers in your jobs, be they aggressive, dangerous or threatening to you, your taxi or other passengers. At Brightside Taxi Insurance we have compiled some tips for taxi drivers to stay physically safe over the course of your taxi journeys, both from ill-tempered passengers and while driving out on the roads. We have also included some recommendations for technology and features that could be utilised in your taxi to further improve your overall safety while out on the job.
Dealing with Difficult Passengers
Dealing with difficult passengers is an unfortunate part of the taxi driving profession, especially when it comes to driving at night and interacting with passengers who have been drinking. However, there are several measures you can take as a taxi driver to protect both yourself and your taxi in these situations. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself to mitigate the likelihood and severity of any potential confrontations with passengers:
- Agree to a fare prior to departure to avoid disputes later in the journey, even if it is a close estimate.
- Create a bond with your passenger by engaging them in conversation and maintaining a non-confrontational tone throughout. Unless your passengers seem reluctant to engage, try to gauge their interests and strike up a common bond. This may lessen the chances of them turning on you if a dispute comes up later.
- Minimise the amount of cash being carried with you in your taxi to lessen the risk of robbery. Drop your cash off somewhere safe and secure during your shift, or lock it away in a securely out of passengers’ sight.
Taxi Safety Features and Tech
There are many features and bits of tech that you may be able to take advantage of if your local council permits. Different councils will have different rules on what you can and cannot fit into your taxi so check with your local council before fitting of any of the following useful equipment:
- Partition – When it comes to taxi safety, partitions are a great way to prevent passengers from being able to reach you while in transit. The best taxi partition screens are made from polycarbonate, which in extreme circumstances can withstand heavy physical impacts such as boots or blades. The creation of this barrier between taxi drivers and passengers can also reduce the risk of the driver catching a passenger’s infectious illness, such as a common cold, the flu or COVID-19.
- Disinfectants – Appropriate disinfectants would also be sensible to keep within your taxi (out of the reach of passengers) to wipe down surfaces an ill passenger has touched before picking up a new one.
- CCTV system – A great deterrent against violent crime, a CCTV system installed in your taxi will make most passengers think twice about their decisions. Nothing deters threatening passengers like realising they are being filmed. A CCTV warning sign prominently placed in your taxi, may also help to alert any would-be miscreants that any bad behaviour will be caught and punished appropriately, particularly those that may have been drinking.
- Convex mirror – As well as acting as another potential deterrent for bad passenger conduct, a wide-view convex mirror will give you a clear view of what your passengers are up to and allow you to react to any unwanted behaviours.
IMPORTANT: It should be noted that these alterations are only suggestions. In addition, your local authority taxi office will their own necessary conditions regarding the fitting of additional equipment that will be need to checked by taxi drivers to make sure they are insured correctly.
Driving Your Taxi Safely
While you can’t control the driving of others, there are ways that you can conduct yourself to enhance the safety of yourself, your passengers and other motorists, especially during night shifts:
- Don’t drive while tired – Although you may be working long hours, if you become tired during a shift, particularly during the small hours, call it a night. At minimum, take a break in case it brightens you up.
- Maintain focus – Focusing on what’s coming up ahead should be your number one priority. When you’re engaging in conversation, don’t let this distract you from the roads. If a difficult discussion or dispute arises, make sure to pull over.
- Adhere to all speed limits – Rushing above the speed limits to attempt to fit more passengers into your shift is never worth the risk. An accident could not only jeopardise the lives of your passengers, but your livelihood and taxi licence too.
- Keep your hands on the wheel - If you are using a sat nav, only operate it when your taxi is brought to a safe stop. Unless you have hands-free access to your sat nav, it is illegal to operate it whilst driving.
- Reduce your speed - In urban areas unaware pedestrians can easily wander out onto the road in front of your taxi. Slowing down can help keep everyone safe, especially in city centres at night when people have been drinking.
With these safety tips in mind, you should now hopefully feel more secure than ever on your future taxi shifts. For even more peace of mind, Brightside can help you to find a bespoke taxi insurance policy to cover you. See our Taxi Insurance services and get a quick quote today.