It’s a well-known fact that cities and towns tend to come alive at night, however while this can be extremely lucrative for taxi drivers it also means that you will often encounter some less than desirable customers. Driving at night also comes with other risks, such as lack of visibility on the roads and bad weather. Therefore, GoTaxi has created our top tips for driving your taxi at night:
Prepare your Taxi for Night Time Rides
In order to stay safe on the road at night you need to make sure that you maintain your taxi on a regular basis. For instance, when was the last time you performed a thorough check of all your taxi’s lights? Many taxi drivers find out too late that they have a light out when the police them pull them over and issue them a ticket. This may sound obvious, but you should also make sure that you have a good understanding of how to alter the brightness of your lights. These days, most cars have the option for you to use dipped lights, full headlights, full beams, and adjust the angle of your headlights. If you are not 100% sure how to control all these then make sure you check your user manual.
Stay Safe on the Roads
The biggest danger when driving at night is lack of visibility, which means that you should always keep your speed low and leave extra space between you and the vehicles in front of you. Generally, taxis are painted dark colours such as black which means that they are not as easy to see as other road users, so make sure you keep this in mind when driving around residential roads or busy town centres where people may walk out into the road without warning. As the roads are more empty at night your passengers may try to tempt you to drive faster so that they can get to their destination quicker, however not only is this illegal and will void your taxi insurance, but it will also put you and your passengers in danger. Remember, even though the roads may be clearer at night they are still just as dangerous as during the daytime.
Breakdowns and Accidents
If you break down or are involved in an accident at night the first thing you need to keep in mind is that other road users may not be able to see you until it’s too late. To counter this issue, make sure you keep a breakdown kit in your boot which includes a hazard triangle that reflects light and hi-vis jackets that will alert people to the fact that you are in the road. Generally, breakdown cover providers place priority on those that have broken down at night, which means that if you are lucky you shouldn’t have to wait too long. However, this is not always the case, which brings us on to our next piece of advice…
Battling the Elements
Even though it’s currently summer, temperatures still tend to drop during the evenings, especially in locations near mountains or the coast. As we move towards winter this will get even worse, which means that you will need to make sure you prepare yourself for spending long nights in the cold. Even though you will be sat in your car for most of the night you won’t want to waste petrol by running your engine and keeping the heating on, which means it’s always advisable that you wear something warm behind the wheel. It may also be a good idea to keep a waterproof in your vehicle in case you need to go out in the rain, such as when you are helping with a customer’s luggage or if you break down.
Avoiding Dangerous Customers
Customers are the most dangerous aspect of any taxi driver’s job, and unfortunately some people tend to get carried away at night. If you work night shifts on a regular basis then you need to make sure you are aware of your rights when it comes to refusing fares and what to do should a fare become difficult or dangerous. In particularly busy areas taxi marshals are usually put in place at night to ensure that both taxi drivers and their fares remain safe. If you are concerned about a certain fare make sure you talk to a marshal, or if you feel particularly concerned contact the police straight away.