Police warn against leaving car unattended during colder months

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- With the mornings getting colder, many drivers will be tempted to warm their vehicle's interior before hitting the road.

Virginia State Police warn leaving a vehicle on while unattended could be asking for trouble.

“Statistically, we’re seeing that one in four vehicles stolen has the keys inside,” Special Agent Peter Lazear said. “But we hear it all the time from other law enforcement agencies that it’s more like half of the cars stolen have the keys inside.”

State Police recommend drivers never leave their car unlocked and running with keys inside to warm it up.

Ryan Sodikoff, the General Manager of Steven Toyota in Harrisonburg, Virginia, said from a mechanical perspective, most cars are ready to go when they're started.

"The second you turn that ignition on, things begin to react and warm up," said Sodikoff.

For those who can't bear the thought of waiting in a cold car for the heater to kick in, remote control starters offer a safe alternative.

"A remote start[er] does not leave your vehicle running with a key in it and the door unlocked," said Sodikoff. "You have total peace of mind knowing that the vehicle is in the driveway running and locked."

The remote starters can be built into the vehicle or can be bought at stores.

Sodikoff said despite the added security, it is always important to monitor your vehicle when it is running.

State Police also recommend turning on your vehicle's alarm system and using immobilizers or tracking systems.

Read the original version of this article at whsv.com.