Visiting a new city can be overwhelming, and without knowing the location, you may rely on taxis to get around. Whether you’re a seasoned taxi passenger or you’ve never ridden in one in your life, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on some of the best safety tips for this mode of transportation. When you’re travelling, be sure to put these tips into practice to protect yourself and your belongings.
Hire a Real Taxi
You may be surprised to see this on the list – after all, what is a fake taxi? However, this is actually the most important thing to do when taking a cab. First and foremost, you’ll be much safer in an official taxi that’s part of a real taxicab business. These companies keep tabs on their drivers and have to obey by certain local laws. If you’re not sure whether the car that’s come to pick you up is actually a real taxi, do not get in. For help in finding real taxis, talk to the hotel staff or your host to find out some of the reliable companies in the area. If it makes you feel more secure, order a taxi by phone rather than hailing a random one on the street.
Note the Cab Number
Real taxis each have a cab number under which they are registered with their taxi company. Always note this number when you get in a cab. You may even text the number to a friend or fellow traveler if you can. This protects you in case something happens since you can either report the driver to the company or call the company about belongings that were left behind when you exited the vehicle.
Don’t Go Alone
While it’s not always avoidable, it’s definitely safer to take a taxi with someone you know and trust rather than going alone. If you can’t avoid going alone, always be sure to sit in the back seat and be aware of your surroundings throughout the ride. Along those same lines, never share a taxi with a stranger or one that already has a passenger.
Know Where You’re Going
If you’re not familiar with the area, always carry a map with you and get an idea of where you’re headed before jumping in a cab. Taxi drivers can often tell when someone’s not a local, and they could take advantage of you by driving a longer route to reach your destination. The more you know about where you need to go, the better.
A classic mistake that many travelers make in a taxi is failing to pay attention during their ride. If you’re thinking about making a phone call, checking your email or just zoning out, don’t do it. You should also be paying close attention to make sure the driver isn’t taking you anywhere secluded or dangerous. This also helps deter taxi drivers from scamming passengers who aren’t locals.
Keep Money Hidden
While you will need to get out a card or some cash to pay your driver at the end of the ride, it’s best to keep your money safely stashed away before and during your trip. If possible, you can even pull out a single credit card before hopping in the cab so that you won’t need to take out your entire wallet when it’s time to pay up. This is especially important for anyone traveling with large amounts of cash on them. Similarly, you should keep any other valuables or important documents (like a passport, for example) hidden in a purse or pocket while in the cab.
Keep the Windows Rolled Up
In some cities, a rolled-down taxi window could be the opportunity for a thief to reach in and steal your belongings. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does the thief can often get away quickly before you’d be able to get out and chase them (which wouldn’t be a smart idea, anyway). Only crack the windows if you must, or ask your driver to turn up the A/C. Similarly, keep your doors locked during the trip.
Wear a Seatbelt
It’s shocking to notice how many taxi cab passengers are not wearing a seatbelt. For some reason, some passengers feel protected in a taxi’s back seat even though these vehicles are basically no different from any other car on the road. The risk of a possible accident is still there, whether you’re going 15 or 55 MPH. Don’t forget to buckle up when you get in to a cab – you’ll be much less likely to be hurt in the event of an accident.
Taking a taxi is typically a very safe and quick form of transportation, and you’ll find that plenty of drivers are friendly and reliable. However, you should still remember to be alert and informed when taking any taxi to help protect yourself while traveling. Use these tips to ensure that you have a safe and happy trip.