It seems like it’s taken a bit longer this year, but cooler weather is finally upon us. Now that temperatures are dipping, it will be more common to see people warming up their cars. While this is OK to do, it does pose risks.

Getting out of your warm bed – not to mention getting your children out of theirs – to get in a cold car can be pretty tough on cold mornings. Heating up your vehicle for a few minutes before you hit the road seems like a simple way to combat that. However, leaving a car unlocked and running makes it a very easy target for thieves. You might think someone wouldn’t be brazen enough to steal your vehicle from right in front of your house, but it’s happened before.

If you’re going to warm up your vehicle and don’t have an automatic starter, lock the car and use the spare key to get inside once you need to. If you don’t have a spare, separate the remote and the key and hold on to the remote.

You might think keeping the car tucked away in a garage to warm up could prevent a vehicle from being stolen, but this can be extremely dangerous. Your vehicle emits carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas. Just opening the garage door isn’t enough – if you want to safely warm your car up, make sure it is not in any sort of enclosed space.

It can be convenient and comfortable to get into a warm vehicle during the winter months, but please make sure to take the proper steps to ensure it’s also safe.