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Picking up strangers in the middle of the night on empty streets — this could be a scene in a horror film, or just another work shift if you’re a taxi driver. Many passengers may be harmless, but the risk is always there.

4 Taxi Driver Safety Tips

We’ve compiled four taxi driver safety tips that can help you keep your fleet and those around them safe on the road:

Maintain Awareness

Identifying risks and potential dangers is the first step towards avoiding them. Taxi drivers should be well-rested and ready to work in a general state of alertness and awareness so that you’re more likely to pick up on anything that could lead to an incident.

Know your area so well that you could drive a shift blindfolded. Practice by identifying your exact location with landmarks at random intervals. Learn which situations require a higher level of alertness, like high-crime neighborhoods or late night hours.

Practice Safe Habits

Practicing certain behaviors can help minimize the chances of becoming a victim. For this reason, taxi drivers should always keep doors locked and windows up all the way up, or most of the way so no one can reach inside your cab.

Encourage your passengers to make electronic payments and try to deposit cash receipts throughout your shift. Keep to areas where others can see your taxi; stay out of back alleys and deserted locations whenever possible.

Finally, don’t invite conflict by losing your temper or yelling at customers. People that are prone to fighting rarely need much provocation, especially if they’ve been drinking. For more on safety, check out our risk management for taxi drivers blog.

Assess Passengers

Knowing that the victim is alert or that others are watching can be enough to prevent a criminal from acting. Greet every new passenger and make eye contact. Glance at customers periodically in the rearview mirror so they know you’re paying attention and might be able to describe them to law enforcement.

Every passenger is different, and any situation could cause them to act unpredictably. Assess each customer and don’t underestimate the potential for danger. Watch for red-flag behaviors, like sitting directly behind the driver’s seat or refusing to give you a specific destination.

Have an Emergency Plan

In the event of an emergency, do not panic. Communicate with your dispatcher per your company’s procedures. Don’t resist during a robbery. You can earn more money or replace your vehicle; it’s not worth risking injury or death.

If your passenger becomes aggressive, don’t argue or return the threat. Be diplomatic and try to get them to exit your taxi. As a last resort, get yourself out of the vehicle in the safest manner possible.

How American Risk Management, Inc. Can Help with Taxi Driver Safety Plans

American Risk Management, Inc. (ARM), along with its predecessor entities, specializes in taxi driver safety and has provided public auto business owners with coverage for their vehicles and operations since 1938. We provide coverage to taxis, sedans, limousines, ride-sharing vehicles, sightseeing tours, courtesy shuttles, school shuttles, last-mile delivery, and couriers across the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our expertise and experience in the commercial transportation industry allow us to provide our clients with solutions that fit their unique risk profiles. To learn more about what we can offer you, call us today at (202) 547-8700.