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Basic Rules of Safety When Driving a Taxi
Basic Rules of Safety
Your own safety should be foremost in your mind when driving a taxi. There are certain rules you should try to follow at all times. One is to keep the front doors and windows locked at all times, and don’t get out the taxi at all except to assist a passenger embark or disembark.
Never chase after runners, or leave taxi in middle of argument with a passenger, even if he/she has already disembarked, unless you have sized them up first and feel reasonably safe. Even falling down drunks can be a danger. They might be putting on an act to make you think they are drunker than they really are, and the minute you leave the safety of your seat you are vulnerable to what could turn out to be a bigger, stronger and meaner member of the community. It is better to lose a few quid than to lose your life.
It would be nice to pick and choose your fares, and to a certain extent you can. You are not obliged to take any passenger who is obviously under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or who is carrying a noxious substance like petrol (fire risk), but late at night with only street lighting to see by, it is not always possible to see in what state the person who is hailing you is in, nor can you know if the person who is hailing you is the person wanting a cab. They could have a drunken friend hidden from sight that they wish to put in a taxi. In fact, I’d bet anything that everyone has done that at some point in their life – hailed a taxi for someone else, a friend or someone who is unable to hail one for themselves.
I don’t object to carrying drunks; only those ones who are argumentative and/or forget their address, or have lost/spent all their money and have none to pay you but conveniently forget to tell you that until after you have taken them home, sometimes at great effort when you didn’t know their address.
Drunks also have a tendency to fall asleep which can be problematic if they have only given you their street address and not their number, and the street is a mile long, or even worse, only their area, which is 4 square miles in size. Have you ever tried waking up a drunk man? You get a few grunts and groans, and your safety is always compromised because you have to leave the safety of your seat to manhandle them awake in the back. I have tried prodding them with a pole, but that just results in more grunts. They must be used to getting prodded with poles!
Drug addict passengers
People on drugs are usually no problem. Both cannabis and temazepam (which used to be the big thing among young drug abusers – do they still use it?) knocks them half asleep. On both, you get the typical slow speech (and pinpoint pupils but the light is never usually good enough to have a good look) but apart from being dopey and slow of thought, speech and movement, they are usually harmless and never the cause of arguments.
People on drugs, however, who haven’t got any and are craving them, are extremely dangerous. I left Glasgow and the taxi trade when crack cocaine came on the streets. It was bad enough before with the heroin addicts who would rob you as soon as look at you, if they didn’t have money for their fix.
Unfortunately, apart from acting a bit hyper and usually overly chatty, they are hard to tell. Fully clothed, you can’t see the tell-tale needle marks all over their body.
Which is why it is always better to remember the basic rules of safety as outlined above.