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What gadgets can taxi drivers not do without?

Taxi drivers spend most of their time in their cars which must be able to do everything they need to earn a living. As technology improves, there are more gadgets and features to make life on the road easier and more enjoyable. So, what could you not do without in your next taxi or private hire vehicle?

As our roads and car parks continue to get busier, AA Cars surveyed 13,000 drivers and found that parking sensors topped the list of must-haves for their next cars.

Having invested in a new vehicle, you want to keep it in top condition and avoid bumps and scrapes that can happen as taxi drivers manoeuvre through our busy streets and car parks. It’s no surprise that parking sensors top the list for 60% of drivers surveyed, especially as expensive repairs could affect their taxi insurance.

And three in five motorists said this versatile technology not only helped them get in and out of bays and parallel park, but they also use it for common manoeuvres such as three-point turns and getting in and out of tight cul-de-sacs.

Second on the list of must-haves is built-in sat-navs, with 57% of drivers insisting on one in their next vehicle. Many taxi drivers and private hire drivers have spent years getting by with plug-in sat-navs which can be temperamental and unreliable but were the only affordable or practical option. Many newer cars have large touch screens which include navigation systems that can make the life of a taxi driver easier as they negotiate unfamiliar roads.

Keeping with practicality, a heated windscreen is a must-have for nearly half of the drivers surveyed. Time is money for taxi drivers and our seasons and changing weather mean they can’t afford to spend several minutes waiting for a steamed-up windscreen to clear. A heated windscreen means they can be quickly and safely on the move on cold and frosty mornings, or when passengers get in on a rainy day.

We couldn’t do without our phones today and, as well as communication, they play a vital role for many taxi drivers who rely on bespoke apps to operate. So it comes as no surprise that USB charging (48%) and bluetooth connectivity (47%) make up the top five. As well as being practical, they help taxi drivers use necessary features of their phones legally and safely. Illegal use of mobile phones while driving leads to points on their licence which could affect their public hire insurance or private hire insurance.

Next on the list is cruise control, which is essential for 33% of drivers, while 28% want heated seats in their next car.

Despite the hi-tech gadgets and features available, the simple cup holder is a must have for a quarter of drivers and it is easy to see why, especially for taxi drivers who spend their time on the road and often need to take coffee or cold drinks to go.

As technology improves and needs change, many of today’s must-haves are things that were previously available as expensive options in higher-end vehicles.

But AA Cars sales director Mark Oakley explained, many of them are now standard across many recent models.

He said: “Parking sensors, which emerged as the number one ‘must have’ among UK drivers, are widely available in cars manufactured by the country’s favourite brands, including Ford and Volkswagen.

“As more nearly new vehicles make their way on to the second-hand market, formerly top-of-the-range tech like parking cameras is becoming increasingly accessible.”

But he warns drivers not to be “dazzled by gadgets” when shopping for their next car, especially in the second-hand market where he says the priority should be the history of the vehicle and ensuring it has been well maintained and serviced regularly.

He added: “Skipping your due diligence when buying a car increases the risk you will miss a serious problem that ends up costing you money down the road.

“If you’re not a mechanical expert, it is always worth booking a professional, impartial vehicle inspection to check the car thoroughly and ensure everything is working as it should.”

Whatever your next taxi or private-hire vehicle is, what gadgets won’t you be able to do without?

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.