7 common mistakes drivers make

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From leaving a car door open to reversing into a wall, we look at common mistakes drivers make, which are known to cause damage, theft or break-in to a vehicle.

Leaving your keys in the ignition is not only an inconvenience but it also makes it easier for a criminal to drive off with your car.

We look at seven common, easy-to-make mistakes that put a vehicle at risk of theft, loss or damage.

Leaving an unlocked car unattended

Whether leaving it for a minute to pay for fuel at the petrol station or running into the school to collect your kids, leaving your car unlocked can leave your vehicle vulnerable to opportunistic thieves.

Often drivers leave their key in the ignition while they've gone off to do something else. A key in the ignition is a signal to criminals that your car is there for the taking. Many cars have been stolen from petrol stations, corner stores and driveways where the owner has left the car with its key in the ignition, sometimes for even less than a minutei! Remember to always lock your car when leaving it unattended!

Leaving your keys in the car

Ever closed the car door and looked back through the glass, only to realise your car keys are still in the car, staring back at you? Remember to always check you have your car keys before closing your car door. A key left in an unattended vehicle is not only a major hassle but it also makes your vehicle a potential target for break-in and theft.

Be sure to have your handbrake on and car in gear (or Park) when your car is parked to prevent unexpected movement and damage to your vehicle.

Leaving the doors or boot open

Got your hands full with grocery bags, toddlers or pets? Be sure to check that your vehicle's doors and boot are closed and locked before leaving it - it'll only take a second! A door, boot or window left open can make your vehicle easy pickings for a thief.

Handbrake on, in gear

Have you ever watched your car slip down a hill or roll into a river? Hopefully not! Admittedly, those are some extreme consequences of forgetting to put your handbrake on and car in gear, but possible nonetheless. Be sure you've got your handbrake on and, for an automatic, in Park or, for a manual, in first gear when parked to prevent unexpected movement and damage to your vehicle.

Leaving the lights on

Leaving any light on in your car for an extended period of time has the potential to cause an inconvenient flat battery. Be sure to check that your headlights, boot lights and accessories have been turned off before locking and leaving your car to avoid a flat battery.

Not checking blind spots

Have you ever scraped the side of your car on your driveway gate or backed into a parked car? Checking your blind spots is a very important part of driving. Reversing without looking carefully enough to see if there is any danger or obstacles present is a fault that could have serious consequences, not just to your car but also to your safety and the safety of others. Be sure to always check your blind spots when pulling out from the curb, parking, reversing and changing lanes.

Leaving items visible in your car

When you keep items in your car be sure to put them in a place where they won't be visible to passers-by. The glovebox, under a seat, or in the boot are places where you can hide your possessions and subsequently make your car less desirable to thieves.

Remembering to check your blind spots and locking your car are some practical ways to reduce the risk of theft, loss or damage to your vehicle. In addition, car insurance can provide cover for accidental loss or damage to your vehicle. Get a quote online today from Allianz for your vehicle.

i Government of South Australia, Protecting your vehicle from theft, http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Transport,+travel+and+motoring/Motoring/Vehicles+and+registration/Vehicle+security+and+theft/Protecting+your+vehicle+from+theft