You may have an idea of what to do if you get locked out — but what steps can you take to prevent getting locked out in the first place? Leaving the windows unlocked in your home or business, or rolling or cracking your car windows, is not the answer. Doing so is not secure, and makes your property more vulnerable to potential intruders. Here are some practical and safe tips to try instead.
1. Have ready access to a spare key
Think ahead and find a locksmith to cut you a spare key! Once you have a duplicated key, be smart about where you store it. Do not keep it under your doormat, as this has become one of the most obvious “hiding” spots and is the first place many potential intruders will look for a spare. Instead, try keeping it with a trustworthy friend, family member, or neighbor, or carry it securely in your purse, briefcase, or other bag. For in-case-of-emergency car keys, consider trying a magnetic key holder. These allow you to keep your spare well-hidden in a safe yet secure location under your vehicle.
Make sure you get a reliable duplicate, as some lower-quality duplication services may not cut a perfect fit. Another way to avoid ending up with an uneven duplicate is to get a copy of the original key rather than of an existing spare.
2. Use caution with doors that auto-lock
If your door is equipped with a smart lock that is programmed to automatically relock each time it closes behind you, be extra vigilant and remember to keep your key on you (or your smartphone, if the door unlocks via app) each time you leave — even if you’re just taking the trash out or getting the mail. Make this a rule of thumb, and once it becomes second nature, you won’t need to worry about accidentally locking yourself out.
3. Each resident should bring their own key on-the-go
When you leave the house for a night out with a roommate or to enjoy an afternoon with your spouse, don’t assume only one of you will need to bring your key. You should each bring your personal copy just in case you are separated while you’re out. For example, perhaps your roommate wants to stay late at a party but you’re ready to return home, or maybe you’re dropping your spouse off at an appointment on your way home and they forget to hand the key off to you. It’s always better to carry your own key to avoid any unanticipated or accidental lockouts upon your return later.
4. Store a trusted locksmith contact in your phone
Know who to contact if you’re locked out. In addition, store other trusted contacts who might be able to help you out in a pinch.
5. Help yourself keep track of your keys
Install a key hook directly by your front door, purchase a key hook that can latch onto the rim of your purse or bag to help you keep track of your set, add a carabiner to your keyring for easy carrying or hooking to your belt loop… any secure solution that works for you.
6. If your car key uses a fob, replace the batteries regularly
You’re hauling a cart full of groceries back to the parking lot when you click your key fob or remote to unlock the trunk… and it’s completely unresponsive. No one wants to be surprised with a drained fob battery, especially when they have somewhere to be (all those freshly purchased groceries from the freezer aisle may not last long while you wait for rescue!). Monitor the battery life of your fob or remote key and replace as necessary.