A cold snap is quickly followed by a rise in ‘frost jackings’, which sees thieves make off with cars that have been left to de-ice on the drive, complete with the keys in the ignition and the engine running, says Tracker.
The vehicle recovery specialist reveals that one car is stolen every five minutes in the UK and 84% of the stolen cars it recovers were taken using the owner’s keys. Leaving the car unattended on frosty mornings could therefore be a costly mistake.
Tracker’s Police relationships manager Stuart Chapman said: “Would you leave an open briefcase containing £30,000 cash or more on your driveway or outside the local newsagent on a frosty morning? The answer is undoubtedly no.
“However, unbelievable as it sounds, each morning many motorists leave their car unattended with the engine running, making it easy for thieves to drive off with it with no extra effort.
“Our research shows that thieves are opportunists and look out for cars on frosty mornings, shopping around for the most popular makes and models, as temperatures start to drop. Modern cars use inbuilt security that makes it more difficult to steal them without the keys, so every year thieves exploit the cold snap to target car owners who take the risk on frosty mornings.”
Many drivers don’t realise that police may even prosecute them, if their car is stolen while unattended with the engine running. They may also find that insurance companies can refuse the claim for the theft, leaving owners seriously out of pocket.
Chapman concludes: “We’re urging car owners to use common sense, especially on cold mornings, when thieves could be looking for an opportunity to steal a car from under your nose.
"Fitting a Tracker unit could significantly increase the chance of a stolen car being recovered, however, never leave your car unattended with the engine running.
"It may take a few minutes more, but a few simple security precautions can save a lot of heartache and expense if your car is stolen.”
Tracker stolen vehicle recovery systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle.
There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. Unlike other tracking systems, the device works even if the vehicle is hidden in a garage or taken abroad, offering car owners the ultimate in peace of mind should the worst happen.