Keeping Drivers Safe
It’s important that your passengers feel safe while riding in one of your taxis but it is equally important that your drivers feel safe as well. Nobody wants to worry about their well-being while at work. There are things you can do to make drivers feel safer and reduce the risks of anything happening.
First of all, your company should have some basic safety rules that are shared with every driver whether they are new or have been driving for several years. If you don’t have any rules in place or if you want to get some new ideas to share with your drivers, we have put together some tips that could be of use to increase driver safety.
Stay in Touch with Dispatch
While on the job, dispatch is your best friend. Try to build a good rapport with dispatch from day one. They keep track of where the vehicles are in real-time and can get help for you if you find yourself in trouble. They always have a view of what is going on with all vehicles and will know if something seems suspicious. They are also the ones that will receive your signal if you push the alarm button within the Driver App.
In case you don’t already know, if you’re in trouble, just press and hold the shadowed area in the bottom right corner of the “Away” button to raise the alarm. A red dot will appear but no noise or other signal will go off. Dispatch will receive a notification of your alarm and can then follow the procedure that is set forth.
Keep Your Vehicle Safe
You obviously cannot do your job without your vehicle, so it is important to make sure it is safe and secure. While waiting for your next job, try to keep the vehicle in populated, well-lit areas. Make sure that you can easily see outside of the windows and have the doors locked while in the vehicle. And, it’s always a good idea to check your vehicle over before every shift to make sure everything is as it should be. Happy vehicle, happy work life!
Don’t Keep Too Much Cash
Luckily, cash isn’t used nearly as much as it used to be. But, just remember that you won’t be a likely target if you don’t keep a lot of cash in your vehicle (and make sure not to have cash out in the open for people to see.) More and more businesses choose to become cash-free so this may be something you could apply as well. If so, we advise that you put cash-free service stickers on your vehicles.
Be a bit leery of anybody asking how busy your shift has been or leading the conversation toward money. Also, the use of a dashcam can help deter possible unwanted behavior. Also, trust your instincts! If something seems off, take precautions.
Whether you have a passenger or not, try to be alert and aware of your surroundings. As a driver, you know that you can only control what you do with your own vehicle. Keep an eye out for other drivers and pedestrians. When you do have a passenger, just be aware of them as much as possible. It’s important to be mindful of your surroundings at all times so you can quickly react to any situation.
Know Your Way Around
It is important to know your way around the city especially if you’re not using a GPS system. Don’t ever just expect that your customer is a tourist. If they know their way around and think that you might be taking them on longer routes to keep the meter going, they may become disgruntled and there is a possibility that the situation could escalate. Follow the directions given to you in the Driver App, and if you choose another way, make sure to explain why to the passenger. So, know the city to be a better driver and so you always know where you are in case of emergency. And, it will just make your day that much easier!
Get the Destination
It’s a bit suspicious if a passenger doesn’t give you an actual address or a destination. If a passenger gets in and tells you to “just drive” or tries to give you turn-by-turn directions, your inner danger signal should ping. Kindly let them know that there is a company policy that states that you need a destination before driving. If you feel uneasy at all, this is where you stay in contact with dispatch and remember that you have the alarm button in the Driver App at your disposal.
Don’t Try to Be a Hero
If you ever happen to find yourself in a robbery situation, do not resist! Give them what they want so the situation doesn’t escalate and you don’t get hurt. It is an extremely stressful situation but try to remember the suspect's description so you can inform the police and hopefully the suspect will be caught. A camera can be very useful in these situations, both as a deterrent, but also to gather evidence in case a driver is subject to a crime.
If your company doesn’t have an emergency policy in place, it is important that one is created. Have a plan for what your drivers should do in case of emergency or if they are feeling unsafe in a situation. It’s equally important that dispatchers have a predefined action plan if a driver presses the alarm button. Most days are smooth sailing but it’s always better to have a process in place and not need it than to not have one when something arises.
Share these safety tips and any others that you feel are appropriate and necessary. It is also a good idea to have regular reviews of the safety rules and have new employees read the process and sign to confirm that they understand. Your drivers will feel more confident in unwanted situations if there is a plan in place.
Take care, and stay safe!