Security: Keeping van thieves at bay

Scams include:

1. Roundabouting: A fraudster disconnects their brake lights and drives around busy roundabouts/slip roads looking for victims. Once a victim is selected, the fraudster drives two-three metres in front of the target and brakes sharply (sometimes an accomplice in another vehicle will distract the victim, with their horn or flashing headlamps, to help facilitate the crash).

2. Roundabout shunt: Fraudster stops at a busy roundabout and waits for a potential victim to pull in behind them. The fraudster then pulls quickly onto roundabout, but stops two-three metres onto the roundabout. The potential victim’s attention will be focused on checking for traffic emerging from the roundabout to their right, as they themselves pull onto the roundabout. They are unlikely to be aware of the stationary vehicle directly in front of them, until after a collision has become inevitable.

3. The Russian method: As a slight variation, the vehicle in front of you may slam on its brakes when a third vehicle overtakes them at speed and then cuts them up for no obvious reason. The overtaking vehicle may be part of an organised tag team who are colluding in order to provide a cover story as to why the vehicle ahead braked quickly.

To avoid being ‘slammed’:

Proceed with caution at all times, particularly when approaching roundabouts and do not look for a gap in the traffic on the roundabout until you are at the give-way line. Ensure your path immediately in front is clear before pulling onto the roundabout.

Watch your speed when approaching roundabouts, junctions and slip roads. Sticking to the speed limit and maintaining a realistic safety gap from the vehicle in front will help reduce your risk.

Be vigilant when driving and maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times. Do not assume that other drivers will always act rationally.

Your best approach is driving defensively – always at a speed at which you can pull up safely within the distance you can see to be clear.


If you have been ‘slammed’:

Never admit liability at the scene.

Do not confront the other party or take any action that you feel might place
you at risk.

Call the police from the scene and report the collision.

Count the number of occupants in the other vehicle.

Ask for the names and addresses of all people present.

Note any distinguishing features of the driver/passengers. This is useful evidentially in disproving subsequent insurance frauds.

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