Cars are at a greater risk of being a victim of theft at this time of the year when the mornings are darker and twilight creeps upon us quicker than before.
We’ve teamed up with Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM RoadSmart, to give you essential advice for protecting your vehicle whether you’re out and about or at home.
- As we exit the supermarket with a trolley full of shopping, we’re eager to unlock the car as soon as possible to avoid the hassle of finding our keys when we get to the car. But unlocking your car before you reach it gives thieves a longer period of time to access valuables and make a run for it, especially if your boot opens automatically. Be sure to only unlock your car when you get to it to prevent any risk of theft.
- Don’t leave your keys lying around. This can apply to any situation, whether you’re out for dinner and leave your keys on the table or if you’re at a friend’s house, as you may not know everyone around you. Making your keys visible can mean a greater risk of them being taken. Be security conscious about code grabbing from your keyless entry, are you being watched?
- Hide any valuables. Before you leave your car, make sure you secure any valuables and keep them out of sight. Putting them in your glove compartment or in the boot of your car will avoid them being seen.
- Don’t fall into the habit of hanging up your keys next to doors or windows. Thieves use a ‘fishing’ method where they insert a hook through a letter box or window and search for keys. This can even be done when you’re at home and you may not even notice until you look for your keys and find that you’ve “lost” them. Make sure you put your keys somewhere safe and secure, and far away from windows and doors.
- Choose your parking neighbours wisely. In a busy car park, we normally go for the first space we can find. But have you thought about your neighbours beside you? For example, parking next to a flatbed truck filled with rubbish may not be as good a choice as parking next to a pristine, well-kept vehicle. The potential of damage is greater if the vehicle you park beside is already full of dents and scrapes.
- Is your parking space secluded? If you will be returning to the car late or alone make sure you stay alert and park it in an area which is well lit.
“We often just pop in somewhere and then get distracted, so it’s crucial you never leave your car running whilst going back indoors to pick something up,” adds Richard. “It will only take an opportunist a few seconds to drive away.
“Try to park your pride and joy away from shopping trolleys and flying doors, although we all know the empty part of a car park will fill up as soon as you leave your pristine motor in a space.
“And remember to always consider your safety, as a car park looks different in the night than it does during the day.”