It’s written all over the news, plastered in your everyday TV: Another taxi driver holds-up an unsuspecting lady passenger. The world is certainly getting dangerous by the day. But that does not mean you should end up on the receiving end of it all.
Here is a practical guide on how you could keep yourself safe – and alive – when you are in the confines of a stranger’s taxi:
#10: Take the back seat.
For Pete’s sake, take the back seat. That way you establish reasonable distance between you and the driver making it harder for him to operate on you. The closer his hand gets to you, the easier it is for him to make the most of unguarded moments. He may not steal anything from you but that does not mean he won’t start touching you most cherished body parts once you’ve dozed off.
#9: Check the taxi insides.
If you have a hard time opening and closing the windows, then that should raise the red flags. Remember, the driver could spray the air with chemicals designed to make you sleep. However, such would be impossible to do if you can slide the windows open – and get air when you need to.
Added to this, you should check the door locks by opening and closing it a couple of times. Right door and left door. That way you make sure you are not locked from the inside and is free to step outside when you need to.
Failing to do so could be your way to doom as what happened to many unsuspecting women. One story showed how the taxi driver manipulated the lady passenger, allowing other people in, en route to a hold-up. And holding her hostage while they take turns withdrawing money from here ATMs and credit card. After which, she was given 100 pesos as fare home. Good thing they remember she had a family to go home to!
#8: Agree on the route first hand.
Establish control of the taxi from the onset. Agree on which road to take informing the driver of your need to close the gap as soon as possible. Drivers who insist on their route should scare you. Remember the power of the purse. You have the right to choose as you are the one who will pay.
However, if indeed the driver won’t budge, then it is better you get into another taxi before untoward events happen. A strong-willed driver is bound to impose his will on you. What if he brings you straight to a motel, would you have the courage to stand up to him?
#7: Inform loved ones of taxi details ahead.
Put your mobile phone to work by sending the taxi details to your family and friends. This should include the plate number, taxi color, the time and the route that you are taking. It is definitely harder for a taxi driver to play games on you knowing he could be traced in time. In this regard, asking for driver ID is playing smart.
Much better if you can call your inner circle as you board especially if you are a lady alone at the unholy hours of the night. Riding a taxi at 11AM is way safer than getting the same service at 11PM. And yes, don’t think it rude to ask for driver ID. Is it not the purpose of ID is to be identified?On that note, make sure the face on the ID match that of the driver’s.
#6: Stay awake.
By all means, stay awake. That way you make sure the driver is not tampering with the meter or is not planning to pull a fast one on you. Engage him in a conversation, if possible. That way you do not only connect as a person, you get inside his head and possibly thwart his advances.
#5: Make the most of TaxiKick and stay in the know.
Not only do you get a sounding board via the website TaxiKick, you get the most updated list of taxi villains (Top 10) and their latest modus operandi. Because of this, you’d be doing a lot of disservice to fellow commuters if you don’t post your sad, sad experience with a particular taxi.
Other helpful taxi review sites abound, google them. With TaxiKick you get to kick those taxi violator’s arse goodbye!
#4: Ride only reputable taxi companies.
Basic, Hertz, Avis, Ken. These are just some of the more established companies. Those small-time operators command a small presence in the market and would not have the need to establish a strong brand. On the other hand, an established company need to look after their services so as not to lose their client base in return. So if you want to make sure, do not gamble with those small unheard of taxi rides rather put your safety where safety is most policed by the organization.
#3: As much as possible never ride alone.
If you notice, there is quite a pattern with abused taxi commuters. Most – if not all – of them are women and riding alone. In 2013 cases alone, a number of reports show many female passengers were raped by taxi drivers. The reports detail how certain chemicals trigger dizziness in women passengers. These chemicals include spray that smell of gas and ‘wet towel’ that triggers a gas once placed on the cab’s aircon. Once immobilized, you could become a victim of physical assault or robbery in record time.
Worse, these same drivers could utilize a memory-defacing drug like anterograde amnesia making the victims forget everything that had happened beforehand. The prospects are disturbing: You could end up being raped without you knowing it.
#2: Never let anyone else in.
Under no circumstances should you ride if somebody other than the driver is inside. You are courting disaster when you do. And if the driver tells you he is going to get someone for whatever reason – be it a relative of his or whatnot – say no. Be upfront about it.
If he insists or if you feel he is about to let people in, then you should start calling your loved ones and ask the driver to stop the car and to let you leave. You maybe mugged but if you have sent the taxi and driver details, you are sure they will not be able to get away.
#1: Refuse that drink and yes, keep those weapons handy.
If for whatever reason, the taxi driver offers you a drink, refuse. Date rape drugs could be inside that sparkling wine or a shot of Johnny Walker on the rocks.
Saying no will make sure you get your judgment sharp and your sanity intact. And respond to any untoward situation properly.
Lastly, there is no need for you to bring a handgun. If you are always commuting via taxi, you may apply for one. However some form of weapon like pepper spray could be a life saver, giving you ample time to get out. Granting you’ve checked the locks from the onset as indicated beforehand.
Every Juan, get the conversation started. Show us your thoughts via the comments section below. Or tap the Quick Share buttons, it’s about time you give your fan-dom in social media some good news.