Never Sit Behind The Cab Driver.....
Disclaimer: This article will help you #StayICY when you are traveling in a cab next time. But please note, this article is designed to give you tactics that will help you identify and use situational tools that will secure you in case of emergency. The accuracy of the tools will depend on the condition of the vehicle and the features available.
So when is being driven around safe?
We all like to be driven by chauffeurs. It's a great feeling when you are sitting in the rare seat, stretching your legs, with your headphones on, eyes closed and enjoying your time though dense traffic. But HEY! You would rather experience this situation when it's your car and your regular driver. One who has been ferrying you for a few years, if not months. When you enter a cab, things are different. A cab ride has proved hostile for a few, and you do not wish to add your name to that list.
Most of the cabs I have entered, I've found the drivers to be extremely friendly and polite. But such behavior does not qualify them to earn my trust. In fact, all abusers and criminals who begin as vendors (considering you their client) behave friendly and polite. What women (those who end up as victims) do is give away their trust for such intentional behavior. I don't suggest that all cab drivers must be doubted. One must Respect All. At the same time, one must Suspect All. It is important that you #StayICY and keep your guard up, so you are never seen as a soft target.
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So here are some tactics that you must remember, next time you get into a cab. I'm sharing the different ways of how you can be attacked, subdued, cornered, incapacitated. I will also suggest an ideal place to take while traveling in the cab. However, the final choice will always be yours.
Never Sit Behind The Driver Seat
I know, this sounds crazy. Most of you have been doing just that and it hasn't got you into trouble, YET! So, would you like to know how you can get into that remote trouble?
PS: The concept of #StayICY is all about knowing your vulnerabilities. Things that you would usually do that will make the work of a criminal easy. It's like solving previous question papers, so you know what to write when the same question comes.
1. Your visibility to the outsider in limited. You have the driver in the front, his seat's headrest, to the left you have a window that is far enough to reduce visibility from the outside, diagonally you are covered by the navigator's seat and tinted glass in the rare or in most cases the rare windscreen is too high. The only way anyone can see you from the outside is your window. And if that had some stickers, then your chances are slim.
2. It is very easy for the driver to pin you to your seat, while still driving. He just has to recline his backrest completely locking your legs. Even if you are 6 feet tall, your chances of being able to reach the liver between the door and the seat are slim. Try this at home. Ask a friend to pin you with the backrest and drive. Trust me, It's not difficult. Once you are pinned, you can't even throw your dupatta or bag or whatever around his neck (a tactic too old and not effective).
3. The passenger doors have a child lock. Though some cab companies have made it mandatory to disarm these locks, we Indians are slow in compliance or worse, don't care. The IMV Act makes it compulsory to wear a helmet, we don't. Seat Belt, We don't. Child Lock, maybe, most don't. So, considering that the cab that will help you experience the rare trouble, has a child lock that you didn't check in a hurry, then you could be in trouble.
So, with little visibility from the outside, being pinned onto the seat with the backrest and a child lock active, its CHECKMATE. You have no tools to help you get out, control the driver, control the vehicle and all you can do then is use your cell phone to make some calls. And if you drop that, in anxiety then you've just lot your last tool.
PS: For god sake, don't use your pepper spray in such a situation as you'll be equally choaked in the cab.
So here is my suggestion. It is almost 99% foolproof. As I always say, there is nothing called 100% security. No man, no building in the world is 100% secure. 1% is the chance that my adversary is smarter than me.
Take The Navigators Seat
The seat right next to the driver. There is huge legroom and you can recline and relax, people can see you from the outside as the windscreen is never tinted, the door doesn't have a child lock (in most vehicles I have checked), you cannot be pinned onto the seat, are the few good things about this location in a vehicle. Oh ! I forgot about the airbags in case of a crash. But these are elements that neutralize your vulnerabilities, hence making your chances of becoming a victim near to nil. But what if you are still attacked or an attempt is made to drive you away from the location of your choice?
Here are some cool tactics that could help you:
1. You have easy access to the handbrake: Pull the seat belt and grab it hard (don't put on the seatbelt). Put your right leg on the dashboard and pull the hand break with all your might, not engaging the release button. The hand brake has a self-locking mechanism that holds the break as long as the liver is not released. So once you pull the lever, don't focus on keeping it pulled, get off the vehicle as soon as it stops or slows down. Jump if you must. The choice is between a few scratches and bruises and letting yourself kidnapped. Make the decision even before you get into a situation like this. so the mind is ready when you actually do.
2. You have easy access to the gear lever: Ever tried to shift gears without engaging the clutch pedal? It's quite easy to damage the gearbox with the constant movement of the gear lever. If the vehicle is traveling in the forward direction (assuming that the drive will engage the clutch to avoid damage) all you need to do is force the reverse gear. Men cannot multitask as good as women, so you have the advantage to engage him between driving, releasing the handbrake and making sure the gearbox doesn't crank.
3. You have good access to the steering wheel: Another tool for you to disrupt the malicious plans of the driver. Needless to advise what you should do with the wheel.
4. If you can't do any of the above, put your back towards the door and violently kick the driver: With one hand busy keeping the vehicle on the road, he is left with just one hand to defend himself against your kicks. And if you have your heels on, then god bless his soul. The place you should focus to hit is his elbow of the left hand when it is holding the steering. That would result in a broken hand. You could also direct your kicks, punches or use your bag to hit his face.
You see, by just changing your position in the cab, you just became the most dangerous element in that vehicle. I just helped you become the enforcer from a prospective victim. Now if you thinking the violence we spoke of is a little too much, then you should probably look at the violence used against rape victims.
Women, make up your mind. When you/your life is in imminent danger, be willing to cause severe injury to your attacker or even KILL in self-defense. (refer IPC Sec 100). It is ultimately a choice between your life as a survivor or your life as a victim. Choose wisely!
In a nutshell - When traveling alone, take the navigators seat. When traveling with a kid, take the seat behind the navigator.
Now there will be minds that will question the above tactics. They surely can. What I have given you above is the foundation and the direction you should be thinking in. It's not a final solution. Always remember, your security and safety is only 99% accurate if you are trained well (not read well).
If you have questions, feel free to comment below and we will respond. You can also ping us on WhatsApp or email us your queries. Contact details available under the CONTACT menu. I hope, you take this article seriously and get used to taking the navigators seat. Because that is where I sit, coz I do not wish to compromise my security and safety, ever !
Wishing you all well !
#StayICY - In Code Yellow.