If you treat your car like a mobile cupboard, you’re not alone.

According to just-published research, women typically have £130-worth of gear in their car. Books are the most typical items, followed by shoes, clothes, children’s toys and cosmetics.

And it probably won’t stop short at just one or two essentials. The research, by women’s insurer Sheila’s Wheels, says two-thirds of female drivers have up to four pairs of shs aboard, plus gym kit and, more often than not, a complete change of clothes.

Women in Wales keep the most clothes in their cars, but London women keep the classiest items. Their values average £143, but one in six admits to leaving valuables totalling £250 or more.

Police urge drivers to leave nothing on show, even when driving, and to put everything in the boot when parked. And while Sheila’s Wheels insures in-car items up to £200 and adds £300 handbag cover on top, not all policies offer as much pay-back. Not only do these extra items make cars heavier, less economical and so more polluting, they also put drivers at risk. One in 10 women drivers have had a crash or a near miss because a loose item has rolled under the pedals and jammed them. And one in 100 are injured because a loose item hit them during a crash.

Stephen Jury


March 13, 2008