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Preventing wandering eyes: tips from IAM RoadSmart

During the daily commute we are often in such a hurry we could leave our brains on the kitchen counter if! This forgetfulness can also often happen whilst we are in our cars and so we end up leaving valuables visible for thieves. This week’s tips give advice on how to prevent car theft, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Park in an appropriate place. This is may sound as cliché as car theft can occur in even the nicest parts of the town but try to park in well-lit areas. Thieves don’t like to be observed at work. If you have a choice use a car park that is a member of the Safer Parking Scheme and displays the 'Park Mark' logo


  • Make sure your keys are close to you as they are the only way to steal a car equipped with an immobiliser. If you are out keep the keys in a pocket close to you; don’t leave them in a jacket or bag. At home, leaving your keys next a letter box or open window is a serious opportunity for thieves. ‘Fishing’ through the letterbox for keys using a hooked length of wire has become popular


  • Keep your valuables out of sight. This may sound pretty obvious but when you are rushing you never know what you may leave on your seat or dashboard.Most car theft is opportunistic for very small items so what can’t be seen can’t be stolen. Important paperwork such as a licence can prompt other issues such as identity theft. Rub away the ring mark made by a sat-nav as that lets thieves think you may have valuables in your glove compartment


  • Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended. It’s illegal and unsafe but also an open invitation that will almost certainly invalidate your insurance claim. Remember even going to the boot with the engine running is long enough for an opportunist to strike


  • Make sure your car is locked and secure. When you leave it to pay for fuel. Being reliant on technology can often be disastrous. If your car fob decides to fail on you, it’s good to know where your spare keys are to ensure your car is still usable. Some thieves use remote jammers that can read your details so watch out for anyone watching you a little too closely when you get out of the car. If in doubt move on


Richard said: “Although we hear a lot about high tech criminal gangs targeting expensive cars, most car theft is from the easiest targets. Making a few simple checks when you park means that the thieves will walk past your car and on to the next lazy driver who didn’t bother to secure their vehicle or hide their valuables.

Notes to editors:

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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