Car-Borrowers Are Snoops, And Here's The Proof

October 1, 2013

When people ask to borrow our computers, we fear the worst. We clear our browser history, hide questionable files, and turn off chat programs to prevent moms or granddads or co-workers from stumbling across anything unseemly.

Do we do the same when folks borrow our cars? Probably not -- but according to a new study, we should.

The folks at surveyed a total of 1,500 licensed drivers who'd borrowed a vehicle in the past two years. Of that number, a staggering 63 percent snooped through the car in the process. 

On the whole, men were far worse about prying than women -- in fact, 76 percent of men said that they opened the borrowed car's glove box, center console, or trunk, while just 44 percent of women said the same.

Co-workers were the worst offenders. Thought they made up just eight percent of car-borrowers, they snooped 79 percent of the time. Boyfriends and girlfriends came in a close second, poking around 77 percent of the time.

Don't trust your neighbors, either: 72 percent of them admitted to digging through borrowed vehicles. And 67 percent of friends were guilty of doing the same.

Your safest bets are probably relatives, but even Aunt Joan and Uncle Ralphie are more likely to rifle through your junk than leave it alone. On the whole, 56 percent said that they'd snooped through their kinfolk's cars.

What were these would-be Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews looking for? Were they nosy, or did they have a "valid" reason for poking around? According to the study:

  • 41 percent said that they were stashing something of their own
  • 22 percent said that they were looking for music to play on the stereo
  • 17 percent said that they needed to find proof of insurance
  • And a very brazen 20 percent said that they were "just curious"

"Well big deal," most of us think. "Let them look. I've got nothing to hide." But is that the case? A fair number of these car-borrowing Gladys Kravitzes turned up some dirt: 

  • 26 percent said that they found "surprising photographs" (raising the question: who still lugs photos around?)
  • 23 percent found booze
  • 23 percent found that the car's registration had expired
  • 19 percent found that the car's insurance had expired
  • 17 percent uncovered "illegal substances"
  • And 15 percent found guns

Perhaps worst (or weirdest) of all, 72 percent of snoopers said that they discussed their findings with the car's owners. "Thanks so much for loaning me your truck for my move. Here are the keys. Oh, and here's the quarter bag I found sewn into the back seat. Nice job on that -- do you think you could fix my upholstery sometime?" 


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