One in 20 (5%) drivers admit to having permanently ‘misplaced’ their car keys and 6% of these say they have actually managed to do this twice, the RAC reports.
Four in 10 (39%) of those who permanently lost their car keys just made do with their spare key, but more than half (54%) said they bought a replacement key at an average cost of £176.20. That equates to a UK-wide bill of more than £180 million.
RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “With today’s sophisticated keys, including transponders and remote devices, a replacement key can cost up for £500 - a not insignificant sum.”
The RAC Opinion Panel survey of 2,068 motorists also revealed that 43% of respondents, the equivalent of 16 million drivers, admit to regularly forgetting where they leave their car keys with absent-minded drivers spending on average two minutes 10 seconds looking for them every day - adding up to almost 14 hours a year.
Apparently, women are more prone to mislaying their keys with 45% saying they frequently forget where they last put their keys, compared with 38% of men who confess to doing the same.
However, when it comes to locking keys in the car, men are the most careless with 30% admitting to the mistake, compared to 23% of women who have done it.
To recover the keys and access their car, almost a third (31%) of these drivers called the RAC or another breakdown provider, 32% used their spare key, one in five (20%) found another way to open the door and 3% called a locksmith. However, a desperate 3% said they had resorted to smashing a window.
Williams said: “Locking your keys in your car is perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences that any of us face resulting in maximum inconvenience and stress.
“The RAC dealt with over 57,000 members with key-related problems including lock-outs and faulty locks in 2017.”