Women being assaulted by cab drivers are in the headlines with alarming regularity. Delhi cab drivers are now notorious for their behaviour. Every now and then even I take cabs, sometimes after arriving on a red eye flight, I take a cab home.I would always take a radio cab, thinking they were safer compared to the ‘kaali peeli’ cabs… But they too have proved unreliable.

Here are some simple things you can do to be alert and be safe when taking a cab, especially with your smart phone:

1) Always alert your family or friend in the city that you are taking a cab: as soon as you step out of the airport or train/bus station, inform the person your are visiting/ staying with about your arrival and impending ride. They will be aware and expecting you. Any unusual delay can get their radars on alert.

2) Always get a picture of the cab’s number plate and send it to a friend/ family: Yeah don’t feel shy, just take a pic and What’s App it to your contact. Some countries have put this out in their travel advisories for India, asking their citizens to take pictures of the cab’s number plate and send it to a friend.

3) Don’t get distracted with your phone while in the cab: What’s App and Fabebook status updates can wait, inane chats on random What’s App groups can also be put on hold, instead be aware of the road and route your driver is taking. And try not to fall asleep in the back seat!

4) Use your smart phone to map your route. Punch in the address on your Navigator app and follow the route. Make sure the driver is taking the right route. Question him if he takes turns that your navigator is not showing.

5) Most cabbies take you for a ride if they sense you are new to the city: pretend you know the place well by reeling off the route (that you’ve just seen on your Navigator) and ask him if he’s taking that route or some other. You could also get this information by calling your friend/ family ahead and getting some directions.

6) Don’t make small talk with the driver: you don’t need to check with him about the weather in the city, you have your weather app for that.

7) If you have to make a call to someone, don’t hold a loud rambling conversation that reveals personal info about yourself.

8) Always get off near your friend’s/ family’s house. Don’t get off at the end of the road and walk, especially at night or in the dark

9) If you are going back to your own apartment, get your apartment security person to keep an eye on you till you reach your apartment and let yourself in. If you stay in a independent house/ building, waiting for the cab guy to leave the area and before you let yourself into your house and secure your doors immediately.

10) Don’t haggle on the fare and start an argument with the driver. just pay what the meter is showing. Its not worth saving a few rupees to put yourself at risk. Think of it as a donation, even if your being asked to pay 50 or 100 bucks more. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

(Published in http://blog.safetykart.com/10-ways-to-be-safe-in-a-delhi-cab/)

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