Don't let thieves home in from your sat-nav

OpinionNot putting your exact home address into your sat-nav is a sensible security tip. Picture: Andy Russell

Not putting your exact home address into your sat-nav is a sensible security tip. Picture: Andy Russell

Andy Russell

Putting your exact home address into your sat-nav could be an open invitation to criminals.

Motoring editor Andy Russell passes on a sensible suggestion for improving your security.

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I bet, like me, those of you with sat-nav devices have followed the instructions and set the home destination for your actual address, right down to the house number, and delight in it announcing that you have arrived at your destination. It’s one of those things you do without thinking. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

You could be the other side of the country and it’s good to know how far you’ve got to travel and how long it will take to get home. But you know exactly where you live, don’t you. But, by putting your exact home address into your sat-nav, you could end up telling thieves what, to them, is a valuable piece of information.

Imagine a criminal stole your car, set your sat-nav for the home destination where they can then break in, knowing you are not there as you are stranded without a car. Leave your house keys in the car – I know people who do and might choose not to after reading this – and they can actually let themselves in! I suspect your insurance company might have something to say about that when you put in your claim.

If you’re reading this, and feeling a little bit naive, you’re feeling the same as I did when I had a sat-nav fitted to my motorbike this week. The salesman ran through how it all worked and then suggested not setting my exact home address in case the sat-nav or the bike was ever stolen – not that I intend to leave my sat-nav attached to the bike when it’s unattended. I’ll confess that not using your proper home address in the sat-nav had never crossed my mind before but then I’m not a mastermind, let alone a criminal one.

I mentioned to a police officer I know and he gave exactly the same advice. Instead the recommendation is to use the address of some well-known building or site in the area where you live – such as the local post office, shop, school, pub or, if you have one nearby, police station… that would certainly lead them up the wrong path! I chose the village hall – it’s a few hundred yards from my house, surrounded by hundreds of other homes, but near enough to still give me an accurate idea of the distance and duration of my journey home.

And, even with my sense of direction, I can find my way home from there without sat-nav! Do you have any simple tips to help prevent motoring-related crime? Email [email protected][2]

Roundabout way of doing things wrongly Watching an old people-carrier bounce over a mini roundabout, leaving it rocking from side to side, I can only assume the driver had take the instruction to “go straight on at the next roundabout” literally. As mini roundabouts go, it was quite a big, raised white blob on a major road, and certainly had enough space to go round it properly.

I’m coming to the conclusion that some people just ignore, rather than negotiate, what they see as a minor inconvenience rather than a mini roundabout. But it can be alarming for other drivers waiting to go round them when a vehicle careers across, not taking the expected route. It can’t do the car any good, and can’t be comfortable for passengers either.

Rule 188 of the Highway Code states: “Mini-roundabouts. Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so.

Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal.

Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts.

Beware of others doing this.”

References

  1. ^ Share (www.edp24.co.uk)
  2. ^ [email protected] (www.edp24.co.uk)

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