Hailing a taxi can sometimes seem necessary, especially if you are trying to navigate through New York City.
However, it is important for you to recognize the fact that taxi drivers are in a hurry to drop off each fare so that they can pick up a new one, and this aspect of their business can lead to higher safety risks for passengers and pedestrians.
Therefore, it is essential for you to utilize safety tips that can help you prevent an injury. After all, you cannot determine whether or not your driver will follow all of the applicable road laws, but you can take personal responsibility for your own safety.
Five Tips for Staying Safe in a Taxi
1) Make Sure that the Taxi Is Legitimate – The first thing that any taxi passenger needs to do is take a few seconds to verify the legitimacy of the vehicle that responds to their attempt to hail a cab. Although the vast majority of taxis on the road are legitimate, there are some scam artists who try to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Here are a few tips to look for in illegal cabs:
- No meter to determine fare
- Fare is agreed upon upfront
- Taxis can be found driving around neighborhoods or shopping centers
Sometimes these vehicles are different enough from an actual taxi that you can easily discern between them. However, if you are in doubt, it is best to send the taxi away and look for another one.
2) Wear Your Seat Belt – Passengers in the back of a taxi will not have the advantage of an airbag if they are involved in an accident. Due to this, it is imperative for you to put your seat belt on so that you will stay securely restrained instead of possibly being thrown from the vehicle.
3) Put Your Safety First – If the driver’s actions seem overly erratic and unsafe, you should ask them to let you out early. Even though this is likely to leave you needing to hail another cab, it is still preferable to staying in a vehicle when you feel unsafe.
Keep in mind that the taxi driver could represent a risk to you and all nearby pedestrians. For example, an accident that occurred in New York City in 1992 caused pedestrian Edward Shalala to need five operations. Shalala ended up filing a personal injury claim against the responsible taxi company.
It was found that safe driving would have avoided the entire incident. Since this accident, many other victims have been injured due to negligent taxi drivers and have had to seek the legal counsel of personal injury lawyer New York firms.
4) Avoid Distractions – It is common to see a movie or TV characters having long and often personal conversations with taxi drivers, but this is not a good idea. After all, divulging personal information to a stranger can put you at risk, and distracting your taxi driver could also easily lead to an accident. Therefore, it is best to be polite upon entering the taxi and then remain quiet throughout the duration of your ride.
5) Give Yourself Plenty of Time – One major mistake that a lot of taxi passengers make is having unrealistic time expectations. For example, if you only have 15 minutes to get somewhere that is typically a 20 minute drive, you could end up forcing your driver to engage in unsafe practices in the hopes of getting a bigger tip. Instead, it would be best to leave at least 30 minutes before you need to arrive in this scenario so that your driver does not need to rush.
If you are involved in an accident that is caused by a taxi driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney to help you recover all of your applicable medical expenses. Keep in mind that you can file a lawsuit against the responsible taxi company, but you will need to complete this process before your state’s statute of limitations runs out.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and blogger. She contributes this article to highlight the importance of safe cabbing. Her research of cab related accidents lead her to a personal injury lawyer New York firm, along with many other helpful resources.
Photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/5UaPg8