The Lady’s Guide to Taxi Etiquette

hen-partyWe’ve all been there. It’s 1.30 in the morning and you’re standing at the taxi rank waiting to get a taxi along with the rest of the late-night revellers.

Your vision’s a bit bleary, your judgement is ever-so-slightly off and your body is telling you it’s time to hit the sack . . . but hold it!

Now is the time you should really be at your most aware and responsible.

Forget whether you should have entertained the advances from that smooth gent in the last bar, your decision-making skills are never of greater importance than when it comes to your late-night travel arrangements home.

Here’s our brief guide to making the right decisions at cabbie o’clock:

Safety in numbers

The obvious point to make is that sharing a lift home with friends is always first choice. For one, it’s safer. And two, it’s just plain cheaper to share a taxi journey home.

If bundling in with some girlfriends isn’t an option, though, there are a few golden rules you should always follow:

+ Have friends present to see you off in the taxi: get them to pay attention to the taxi driver’s face or take a shot of the vehicle and credentials, particularly if you’re starting to feel the effects of that last cocktail.

+ Agree to call or text a friend once you’ve arrived safely at your destination.

+ Agree a fare for your destination where possible.

+ Strap in. Trusting a stranger’s driving skills is one thing; ignoring basic safety precautions is another. You don’t want to find yourself injured and involved in a taxi accident claim if you can help it.

No food smuggling

You’ve hailed down a taxi but still have half your late night supper left. Never try to smuggle food into a taxi where it can be spilled, though. Mess up the interior of your cabbie’s vehicle and you’ll find that the cost of this particular taxi accident creates a bigger hole in your purse than your bar bill.

Standard fines of £50 are charged by many taxi firms for the time and expense of cleaning down a vehicle.

Tipping and disembarking

Always a tricky one to gauge, why not use the general rule of thumb that an enjoyable journey is a tippable one?

Like your taxi journey to be a quiet moment of reflection on the night you’ve had? Then a taxi driver who kills your vibe by asking questions and telling you about his fourth cousin’s dog isn’t going to be the deserving recipient of your hard earned cash.

Want a bit of light conversation to pass the time? A good cabbie should always know how to hold a conversation, so reach into your purse for a chauffeur who can make you laugh and sees you safely to your door with a smile on your face.

How much to pay? Round up to the nearest sum for solo journeys. If you’re travelling in a group, whip round and make it up to a generous 10% tip.

Before you leave your chariot, always be sure to look back inside the cabin – and don’t be afraid to ask for the internal lights to be turned on so you can spy any spilled lip gloss, loose change or, worse, a forgotten mobile phone or purse.

Then all you need to do, is thank your driver for his sterling work and head for a very welcome bed.

What if the unthinkable accident happens?

The last thing on your mind after a night out is being involved in an accident, but unfortunately there are thousands of taxi accidents every year around the UK.

If you are involved in an accident that was caused by your taxi driver or another vehicle, would you know what to do?

Here’s your 5 step plan:

1. Report the incident to the police straight away
2. Collect registration and certification details from both your taxi driver and the other vehicle
3. Take photos of the accident
4. Collect witness statements from any passers-by where possible
5. Call Winn Solicitors

So, there you have it: follow these easy guidelines and stay cabbie cool.

guestblog This is a Guest blog written by Winn Solicitors, specialists in road accident claims. They can arrange for immediate medical assessment – which is crucial, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured.

Injuries such as whiplash can take days or even weeks to present themselves, but without appropriate treatment can mean pain or discomfort for months.

Winn can also handle any taxi compensation claim, should you require any further treatment or suffer any other loss or expense as a result of the accident.

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Trailblazing Toni encourages other women into motor industry

toni_stoneacreI’m delighted to see Toni Louisa Rivett of Stoneacre Motor Group become the first woman to gain Master Technician status at Volvo.

This is quite something bearing in mind that only 2.5% of apprentices embarking on a motor industry based course (IMI stats) are female.

Toni joined Volvo in 2005 when she was 17 as part of the Volvo Apprentice Programme when she was working at John Morris Motors.

She finished that course in 2008, moving up to take the Level 2 qualification in 2010. Level 3 followed in 2012 when Stoneacre took over the Grimsby and Lincoln operations.

She then took her Master Technician programme which she has just completed.

“Ive spoken to lots of women who wish they’d had the chance to do what I’ve done.’ Toni explained.’Perhaps my achieving Master Technician status will encourage more women to come into the industry.’

For either gender Master Technician status is a remarkable achievement as it reflects a genuinely superior knowledge and hands on ability of all matters mechanical in this area.

In Toni’s case this is more than just that – it isn’t easy being female in such a masculine motor industry. Girls are not expected to want to be a mechanic and those that do often experience discrimination even if this is just ‘soft’ or ‘unintentional’. Many females simply give up and choose another career/industry.

But the die is cast now – if Toni can do it so can others. Come on girls – those of you with a strong STEM inclination – pick up your spanners and let’s show the boys we can do it as well, if not better, than the men.

A great career awaits – well done Toni!

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Wise holiday advice to pack with your sunscreen

Enjoy Your Summer Break
You’ve booked and saved for the family holiday for ages now and it’s almost here… so it’s time to get excited about your destination and the likely lazy days away from work.

Most women I know prepare a holiday checklist to include essential travel documentation, passport, driving licence, holiday insurance and spending money.

After the tricky family packing most of us do comes the more enjoyable packing to include our own holiday wardrobe, the best sun screen, trendy sunglasses and (to be on the safe side) a mosquito repellent – check!

But who of us has considered protecting our identity this summer? Which is why Experian has some really useful tips that few of us are likely to have considered we imagine.

In the same way you would take sensible steps to protect yourself from the sun, the following easy-to-remember tips can help protect you and your family from identity theft, which could result in a nasty holiday hangover if your information gets into the wrong hands…

1. Pack light

Handbags and wallets often contain lots of items containing personally-identifiable information that you won’t need on holidays. These could prove to be a goldmine for fraudsters, so do a clear-out of your handbag and wallet, removing items such as bills, receipts, out-of-date driving licences and medical prescriptions.
2. Stay in the shade

Don’t expose your personal or credit card information unnecessarily. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks and public computers if you are doing anything which requires you to share passwords or financial information. If you have no other option, remember to check these sites are encrypted (indicated by a padlock symbol and the letters “https:”). Always log out after use.
3. Apply sunscreen regularly

Regularly updating the antivirus and firewalls for your devices is the most simple form of protection here. However, as with sunscreen, many of us forget to effectively reapply. These types of software are updated regularly with patches for specific bugs, so by not updating your software, you run the risk of having gaps in your protection.

4. Don’t get burnt

Identity fraudsters operate to make money and so one of the first ways you can spot fraudulent activity is by  closely monitoring your credit report.

If you spot any unusual activity and suspect that it may be an indication of identity theft, you can contact the Experian Victims of Fraud team who will appoint a dedicated case-worker to investigate and, if necessary, resolve any fraudulent activity not only to protect your bank balance, but also your credit rating. 

I for one wouldn’t have thought of all this and whilst it’s commonsense in most cases it’s good to have the heads up here.

FOXY Steph

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Go 20 road safety campaigning MP

caroline_flint_20Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley and Labour’s shadow energy and climate change spokesperson, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for her commitment to increasing 20mph limits in her constituency.

Caroline’s campaign began shortly after she was elected as an MP for Don Valley. In 1998 she supported a campaign for more 20mph ‘home zones’ to make residential areas safer.

By 2000 she was calling for local communities to be given the right to set their own speed limits. She also championed the campaign of a small village, Austerfield, which had a 40mph limit, for it to be reduced to 30mph. Despite the opposition of some local councillors, the campaign was successful.

When Doncaster adopted a directly elected mayor in 2002, Caroline helped draft his manifesto, which included 20mph areas. This has resulted in the first 20mph limits being rolled out across the Doncaster borough.

Her work in publicising the benefits of 20mph across her constituency has attracted some high profile support, with neighbouring MPs Ed Miliband and Rosie Winterton raising awareness of the benefits of 20mph limits in their own constituencies.

In September 2013, the new mayor of Doncaster began to roll out the first wave of 20mph limits at nine schools and by 2014, with Caroline’s support, they are now into their third wave of 20mph limits with plans to extend this to the whole borough.

Road safety is generally an important issue for Caroline who has also campaigned against illegal parking on zig-zag lines and for more pedestrian crossings in villages.

Find out more about Brake’s national road safety campaigns for safe, active, happy communities.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “We are delighted Caroline has shown long-standing commitment to 20mph limits and safer streets, and we hope her campaign will bring further success. Ultimately, we would like everyone in Don Valley, and cities, towns and villages across the UK, to reap the benefits of 20mph limits. That’s why we’re campaigning nationally for all our communities to ‘GO 20′ and for drivers to slow down, to make our streets safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling. We believe everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their area, for their health and enjoyment, and as a cheap and sustainable way to get about, without being put in danger. 20mph limits help people to do just that.”

Caroline Flint MP for Don Valley said: “From the time of my election as an MP for Don Valley, road safety has always been a crucial issue for me and something I have campaigned hard to achieve. I firmly believe that communities know best what traffic speed they feel is right. In my experience, more schools and communities are wanting 20mph limits and they deserve to be listened to. My thanks to Brake for this award, and I hope their campaigning continues to reach the parts others have failed to reach.”

Hear hear. FOXY is happy to help spread the word about the excellent work Brake does.

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To Infiniti and an F1 career

Yasmin & Simon Le Bon plus Infiniti car

Yasmin and Simon Le Bon attending the RAA’s summer exhibition

The Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy is close to discovering the world’s next Formula One engineering stars, including three females within a field of twelve hopefuls.

Finalists will compete to win one of three work placements in the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy; a 12-month engineering role with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, including accommodation in the UK, an Infiniti company car and full salary.

This is a truly global challenge involving four Americans, three Chinese, two Australians, one British, a Malaysian and a Sudanese.

Their next step is a three-day shortlisting programme held at Infiniti’s European Technical Center at Cranfield and their Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes. They’ll face intensive interviews, practical tests and technical challenges, closely assessed by leading experts. The three winners will be unveiled by Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey on July 3rd.

Infiniti-Performance-Engineering-AcademyAdrian explained:

“The Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy is an exciting initiative for young engineering students to become inspired and realise their dream of working in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One. Judging by the applications submitted, it is great to see so much passion and enthusiasm from our engineers of the future.”

The 2014 Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy finalists are:

Christien Blencowe, 25, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)

Andrew Trathen, 22, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)

Qin Li, 22, from Hunan, China (Vehicle Engineering at Tongji University)

Wei Zhao Zhang, 22, from Beijing, China (Engineering at Tsinghua University)

Yijia He, 22, from Sichuan Province in China (Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College in London)

Yoga Nadaraajan, 21, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (studies Electronics Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

William Priest, 23, from Exeter, UK (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Exeter).

Alejandro Diaz, 22, from Miami, Florida (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Florida International University)

Eric LaRoche, 25, from Hamilton Square, New Jersey, (studies Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park),

Jason Zide, 21, from Laguna Beach in California (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California)

Austin Volk, 22, from Oregon (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University)

Alaa Ahmed, 23, from Sudan (studies Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Malaysia)

Infiniti Motor Company’s HQ is in Hong Kong with sales operations in some 50 countries. The Infiniti brand was launched in 1989 with premium car manufacturing facilities in Japan and the United States. Production facilities in China and Europe will follow soon.

Whilst it’s too late to enter this year, here are details of the 2015 competition. Challenging as well as the opportunity of a lifetime.

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