Transportation

Things to consider to increase your safety on foot, in a rental car, or when taking public transportation.   
 
01. Thinking of Renting a Car?

 

Each year, 1.3 million people are killed and 20–50 million are injured in motor vehicle accidents worldwide. Most (85%) of these casualties occur in low or middle-income countries, and 25,000 of the deaths are among tourists. Nearly half of medical evacuations back to the United States are the result of a car crash, and a medical evacuation can cost upward of $100,000. You really should give a lot of thought to this idea if you will be in a third world country with traffic like in the picture above that Kay took in India. And it wasn't even rush hour!

 

And think again if you will be driving on the opposite side of the road you are used to at home. For an American, that right-hand turn over three lanes of traffic and a pedestrian walkway in Great Britain can cause both palms and brows to sweat!

 

And don't forget to be exceedingly careful as a pedestrian under the same circumstances. Winston Churchill was badly injured when he stepped off a curb in the USA and looked the wrong way.

 

02. Trains, Subways, and Buses
  • Sit near other people or near aisles/doors and know the location of emergency exits. 

  • On subways, choose a middle car but never an empty car to avoid being isolated or easily cut off from others.

  • Try to stay awake and alert. If you must sleep - make SURE that everything you own is either under you or firmly attached to your body.

  • Watch out for distractions - either personal ones - "could you hold the baby for just a moment?" or crowd-pleasers such as a domestic screaming match - these may be the distraction needed for the pickpockets to do their work.

  • Stand back from the curb while waiting for a bus or subway.

  • If you're getting off at a lonely spot - be vigilant. Go to the front of the bus several stops before your own. If any person joining you or watching you from the back door fails to get off at the next exit - stay on the bus until that suspicious person disembarks. Then get off at the next busy public area and take another bus back to your original destination.

 
03. Taking a Taxi
  • If taking a taxi to a restaurant or hotel and the driver tries to steer you to a different destination (probably his nephew's emporium) - thank him for the suggestion then tell him your husband is waiting for you at the destination you requested.

  • Wait for the driver to exit the cab and pop the trunk before you get out. Do not pay until your luggage is on the curb. All this to avoid letting the driver leave you at the curb while he drives off with all your belongings. 

  • Do not use unlicensed taxis. Make sure the photo on display is the driver.

  • Have the address of your destination and your hotel written out in the local language and carry it with you. A hotel business card fits the bill.

  • Ask at the front desk the approximate distance and taxi rate would be to get to your destination. And ask about local tipping policies while you're at it. Have that amount in local currency readily available. 

  • In the taxi, sit behind the driver, lock the doors, and never get out in deserted areas.

  • If there is no meter or if the meter is inoperable, negotiate a fixed fee before departing.

  • Do not ride with people soliciting taxi passengers in the terminal.