Violent incidents regularly occur in the taxi, both verbal and physical. How can you as a driver best act in these kinds of threatening situations? Aggression trainer Jannie de Jong tells all about this. She has been helping carriers deal with aggression for over forty years.

To get straight to the point : what is the most important tip?

“It depends on the type of aggression. If it concerns verbal aggression, such as insults or threats, then apply the choice model. For example, say, if you continue swearing, I’ll call the police and get you out. If you stop, you can sit comfortably. So what do you want? Responsibility for aggression should lie with the perpetrator. If you really call it that, they can realize that there are no consequences if behavior is changed.”

What if it all goes wrong and it changes to physical aggression?

“An aggressor who decides to fight has nothing to lose. You can do a lot about prevention by keeping your distance, adopting a neutral attitude, continuing to breathe calmly and applying the choice model. By not going into battle in any case, physical aggression is often prevented. And if people still attack you, they have nothing to lose and you can’t prevent that. Then you can do nothing but get yourself to safety and have that person picked up at the next stop.”

How can you train someone to stay calm and to radiate authority?

“What we mainly train is the basis that triggers you. At that point, you need to be in physical control: take a breath, relax your muscles and take a minute. Then you have authority and self-control and thus control over your own reaction. As a driver, show that the taxi is yours and you decide what happens.”

Your book ‘Help I am being manipulated’ was recently published. Is manipulation another sport?

“In those cases, the aggressor is really deliberately out to pull the other person across the border. Rest assured that that is exactly what will happen. It’s really not that hard. How clever of you to be able to check for mouth caps. That you are trained for that! Everyone is triggered by this. And before you know it, you grab someone and you’ve done it. That is a much more difficult situation. Don’t ever get into a discussion. Again give them the choice to stop or leave the taxi. Even better is to say that you experience the behavior as insulting, belittling or condescending.”

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