Taxis can be a convenient way to get around, especially if you’re traveling somewhere new or plan to go out and have a few drinks. However, taxi rides can be exciting in all the wrong ways or even downright dangerous if you don’t take some precautions.
Taxi drivers who think they can get away with it might take you on an unnecessarily long route to run up the meter (this practice of “long-hauling” is illegal, but it still happens). If you find yourself in a car with a reckless taxi driver, you risk being injured in a car accident. There have even been several horrifying cases where women have been sexually assaulted after getting into an unlicensed cab. This is not to suggest that every cab driver is dangerous or dishonest—it is, however, a warning to be careful when taking a taxi.
If you live in or are visiting Las Vegas, here are a few tips to help you stay safe in our city’s cabs.
7 Tips for Taking a Las Vegas Taxi
1) Never get in an unlicensed vehicle. You should, whenever possible, call for a cab from a specific company and ask for the name of the driver. When the taxi arrives, ask the driver their name, and look to make sure that they match the driver’s license photo in the cab. If you do take a cab without first calling the company—say, when you see a taxi pick-up area outside of a casino—look for city-issued identification before getting in.
2) Look up your route ahead of time. If you’re not very familiar with Las Vegas, try using a map or GPS app to look up where you need to go before you get in the cab. If you’re unfamiliar with the area or a little tipsy, a cab driver might think they can get away with taking you on a longer route—knowing where you need to go can help you avoid this problem.
3) Don’t try to hail a cab from the street. Unlike in New York City, Vegas cabs won’t pick up passengers who hail them from the side of the road. Pulling over in a busy area like the Strip blocks traffic and puts the driver at risk for being in a rear-end collision—and stepping out into the street to hail a cab puts you at greater risk for being in a pedestrian accident. The only two ways to get a cab in Las Vegas are to call and arrange a pick-up or to go to a taxi cab stand.
4) Make a note of the cab’s number. Take a photo of your cab’s number and text it to a friend before you get in. That way, you’ll have a record of when you took the cab—and should anything happen, you’ll have the cab’s number so that you can file a complaint.
5) Ask about payment method before getting in a cab. A lot of Las Vegas cabs don’t have the ability to process credit card payments, so don’t automatically assume that you’ll be able to pay by card. If your driver figures out that you don’t have cash to pay them after you’re already on the road, they may become upset and drive recklessly—or drop you off somewhere unfamiliar.
6) Buckle up. You’re required by law to wear a seatbelt in a Las Vegas cab—and even if it weren’t a law, it would still be beneficial for your safety. According to the CDC, seat belts reduce fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes by about 50%.
7) Ask your cab driver not to talk on their phone while driving you. Studies have shown that talking on the phone while driving—whether with a handheld or hands-free mobile device—can be as dangerous as driving while drunk, so don’t ride with a cab driver who engages in this risky behavior. If your cab driver starts to use the phone while they’re transporting you, politely ask if they can refrain until you’re out of the cab. If they refuse, ask to get out as soon as it’s safe to do so.
By exercising some caution, you’ll be more likely to have a good taxi cab experience in Las Vegas. But if something goes wrong and you are injured in a taxi cab accident, know your rights. Talk to a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer about recovering compensation for any medical expenses and other associated costs.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”-an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state-and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”