To know and to understand how to keep your car, it’s contents and yourself safe.
To be aware of how to keep your car safe and the importance of personal security and how to reduce risks.
- How to keep your vehicle and any belongings inside safe
- How to keep valuables in your car safe
- Parking in a safe environment
- Personal security
It is important that you take all steps possible to ensure your car, it’s contents and yourself are safe at all times. Having your car or possessions stolen is at best an inconvenience and can be very distressing.
It is important that you take sensible precautions to reduce the risk of having your car broken into or stolen.
Modern cars come with engine immobilisers and many also have an alarm fitted as standard. Other precautions you can take include:
- Using a physical immobiliser – such as a steering wheel lock
- Having the vehicle registration number etched onto all windows
- Install a GPS device – this will track your car’s location if it is stolen
- Fit an alarm if one is not fitted already (look for Thatcham approved devices)
Whenever you leave your car, get into the routine of checking it is secure and do the following:
- Close all windows completely
- Remove the keys
- Engage the steering lock
- Set the alarm
- Remove any valuables or lock them out of sight (never leave the cars documents in the car)
- Lock the doors
In general park where your car can easily be seen. Think about how an area can change according to the time of day or night. If you have stickers in your window supporting a certain football team. Be careful when you park it at a rivals car park.
Always remove any valuable items from your car if possible. If you need to leave valuables then lock them out of sight.
Car Stereo/Audio equipment – these are a prime target for thieves. Always remove the faceplate of the audio equipment (if it is removable.) If you have a keycode for the audio system never leave it in the car.
Satellite Navigation Systems – if you have a portable sat-nav always take it with you when leaving your car. Remove the support cradle and suction cup also, as thieves may see these in you car and break in to look for the device.
Security in car parks
Try to avoid leaving your car parked in a poorly lit area. The risk of vehicle crime is higher in a location with poor lighting and there may be an increased risk to your personal safety when you return to your car.
Where possible always park your car in:
- An attended car park
- A car park with CCTV
- A secure car park
- Park in a well lit area at night (or if you will be returning to your vehicle after dark)
Look out for car parks that display the Park Mark Safer Parking award. These car parks are run by responsible operators approved by the police.
As well as your car’s security it is equally important you consider your own safety when driving.
Always stay alert at all times, especially if you are driving alone, driving at night and when returning/leaving your car. When parking your car always consider if you have picked a safe location and if it will still feel safe when you return to your car later.
Plan your route in advance so that you know where you are going and the route you need to take. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to arrive or return.
Carry a mobile phone so that you can use it to call for help if you break down, are involved in an incident or feel threatened in any way. A mobile phone charger will mean you will never run out of battery.
Always lock your car when you move away from it. This applies even if you are only leaving it for a short time e.g. to pay for petrol.
Keep your doors locked whilst you are inside, this will prevent anyone opening a door to snatch a bag or to try to gain entry. Some modern cars will lock them automatically when you reach a certain speed, but it is still a good idea to get into the habit of locking the doors when you get in.
If you need to open a window to talk to someone, then only open it an inch or so. This will prevent someone from leaning in and unlocking the car or attempting to take any valuables.
If you break down, if possible stay inside your car with the doors locked while you wait for help. The exception to this is on motorways and other fast moving roads. Get out of your car and wait somewhere safe such as on the embankment. In this situation you could leave your passenger side door open, so you can return to the car quickly if necessary. If you are a lady on your own. Tell the breakdown service and they will give you priority.
If when you are driving and you feel threatened. Drive safely to a place of safety. These can be all sorts of places such as:
- A garage forecourt which is normally well lit with lots of CCTV
- Anything military
- Any police station
- Anywhere with lots of CCTV
- Anywhere with lots of people
Always ensure your car is left in a safe location and is locked and as secure as possible.
Always consider the safety of where you park your car and remove or lock away any valuables.
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive or return.
Consider your personal safety at all times.
You should know:
- How and to leave your car and any valuables
- Where to leave your car
- What to consider to keep yourself safe
Driving The Essential Skills: Section(s) 20
On your driving test:
This will be covered on your theory test.