Most big South American cities we’ve been to have had warnings about the dangers of taking a taxi. It isn’t about being ripped off on the taxi fare (most taxis don’t use their meters anyway or in Lima don’t even bother to have a meter). The warning are rather about getting robbed and kidnapped. According to guidebooks there are a creative different ways this may transpire. Being the analytical and forward thinking person I am, I let my Inner-Batman think of counter measures in case such incidents may arise.
Tactic 1: Driver uses gas to incapacitate us. Countermeasure: Hold my breath every time the taxi driver turns around. Check his hands constantly for any type of device that may contain poison gas. In case I can’t clearly identify what the driver is holding, put a choke-hold on him. Better safe then sorry.
Tactic 2: Driver has accomplice hiding in trunk who has weapon to rob us. Countermeasure: Check access to trunk from backseat. In case there is a secret trapdoor scream followed by passing out and pretending to be dead.
Tactic 3: Driver stops at a particular traffic light and has accomplices open the door to take our luggage and maybe even ourselves. Countermeasure: Insist that the taxi driver ignores traffic lights and any other traffic law. Climb on roof and carry binoculars and a slingshot.
Tactic 4: When getting out of the taxi to pay and get luggage from trunk the driver may drive away with our belongings in our dirty backpacks in his trunk. Countermeasure: Always carry a large jar full or angry bees. That should teach the driver to take our stuff.
I hope this tips have been useful to you.