October 22, 2014, Toronto, Canada - When I teach self defense there is one topic that gets a more negative reaction than any other from women! The topic is TAKING TAXIS! While there are some amazing taxi drivers, I have also heard countless stories of taxi drivers making women uncomfortable, by staring at them, asking them personal questions, to the extreme of sexual assaults and attacks! Think about it? You are in a car with a complete stranger who is in control over the car and they may know where you live if they picked you up at home. Below are just a few tips that were sent to me with ones in red that I also teach at all my seminars.
Montreal police are warning residents to avoid taking taxis alone late at night, after several women reported that they were attacked while taking a cab home. When I read about these incidents on the news, I couldn’t help but think of the countless times I took cabs on my own and how it never occurred to me that I could be in danger.
Here are a few guidelines on how to stay safe when taking a taxi late at night:
- Do not just get into any taxi that comes along. Bogus taxis are out there. Know where you can get a taxi safely.
- It is best that you make a note of the registration or licence plate number and check the driver's identification badge, which should have a photograph of the driver, the licence number and expiry date.
- Be cautious if you are ordering a cab in a public place - make sure that you are not overheard by strangers when you make your call as this could give away your address.
- If you ordered one, don't get into a cab until you're sure it's yours.
- Trust your instincts. If you don't feel comfortable with the taxi that arrives for you or stops for you then trust your instincts and take another cab.
- Always sit in the back of the car rather than in the front seat, as this keeps you at a safe distance from the driver should there be any problems. You will also have two doors to leave the cab from in an emergency rather than one.
- Keep the conversation polite but professional and about every day matters rather than personal matters.
- When you reach your destination always have your keys ready to get into your house or flat before you get out of the cab. This way you will not be left hanging around in the dark and vulnerable. If you feel safe and trust your driver, you may want to ask him not to leave until he sees you enter your home.
- If there is a problem with your cab you should always report the problem to the taxi service or the police - you may help protect future passengers. If you are going to report a problem, try to remember what kind of car it was, the driver's name and registration number.
- I have had many women tell me they were offered free rides or encouraged to sit in the front seat with the driver. Do not get in if they do either.
- One young woman told me the driver asked her to sit in the front seat and hold his hand! Report a driver who makes that request.
- While you want to be friendly, be very conscious of what personal information you may give out such as where you are going, and how long you are staying there. I have had many tell me the driver has broken into their home because they knew where they lived and when they would return.
Try and keep the guidelines above in mind the next time you take a cab home late at night, and stay safe.