BBC Weather: Cold temperatures for UK with some snow

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With winter weather bringing snow and ice to many parts of the UK, it’s worth knowing how to keep the car secure and avoid rising instances of ‘frost-jacking’. The practice involves thieves jumping into a running vehicle as the owner tries to defrost it and contributes to a yearly increase in vehicle crime as temperatures drop.

Experts at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts have drawn up a list of seven tips to follow in order to keep vehicles safe while keeping the cold weather at bay.

Director Keith Hawes said: “With everything going on right now motorists may not have the security of their cars at the forefront of their mind.

Even though many of us will be working from home, and a high number of households might be isolating, it doesn’t mean car thieves will also be staying at home too.

“By taking some extra simple precautions, you can reduce the likelihood of incidents happening to your vehicle.”

Don’t leave a running car unattended whilst waiting for it to defrost

The way to avoid this from happening is to not leave a car running unattended, even for a minute. Wrap up warm and wait until it is defrosted and safe to drive.

To avoid a lengthy wait in the cold, invest in a can of de-icer, or try the hack involving a sealed bag of warm water (never boiling!) to speed the defrosting process up.

Be careful where parking a vehicle

The safest place to keep a car is in a private garage, thefts from this location only make up seven percent of the total amount.

Similarly, thefts from public and private car parks only make up 10 percent, compared to 43 percent of the vehicles being stolen when parked on a street.

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Empty the car of any valuable and attractive items

Do not leave anything on view in the car, and if possible remove items from vehicles altogether. 

This includes loose change, bank cards, Sat Navs, and smartphones. Better still, don’t leave any evidence of them – no charging cables or mounting brackets. It may even be a good idea to leave your glove box open, so it’s obvious there’s nothing of worth inside.

Invest in a reliable tracking system

While it might not stop thieves from stealing a vehicle, a tracking system, such as a Thatcham-approved device, is going to offer an extra layer of security, and make the chances of recovering a car much higher if the worst does happen.

Have car windows etched

While it might not be common practice, in order to make a car harder to sell if you are unfortunate enough to have it stolen, one option is to have windows etched with the vehicle’s registration or identification number. 

It will be more difficult to sell on and, just like a tracking system, it will make it easier for the police to recover if it is stolen.

Use traditional protection on your vehicle 

They may seem a bit old school, but a simple steering wheel lock or wheel clamp would be enough to discourage some criminals. 

A visible deterrent and incredibly tough to remove easily or quickly, these means of automobile protection are still an effective deterrent to potential thieves.

Keyless tech may be convenient but carries extra risks

Tech-savvy crooks can amplify the key fob’s signal, giving them access to the car.

This method is quick – taking some just 10 seconds to enter the vehicle- and draws less attention from members of the public than smashing a window for example.

Don’t be tempted to hang a fob next to the front door, store it securely, as far from the car as possible. 

Better yet, get into the habit of placing it in a bag designed to block these signals completely – and make sure the same is done with a spare key.

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