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To knock on a stranger's door because their car lights are on?

(23 Posts)
RevoltingPeasant Wed 08-Jun-11 15:55:17

Last night I went for a walk with DP before bed. A couple of blocks away from our house, we walked past a driveway with a car whose headlights were on. The garage was all locked up, the porch light off, and we could see people moving around in an upstairs room behind a curtain. It seemed pretty clear that they'd come home and forgotten to turn the headlights off, and would have a flat battery in the morning.

I said to DP, 'I'll just go and knock and tell them, shall I?' I mean, it's basic neighbourliness, right? I could see they were still up, I wasn't waking them.

DP was horrified. He found it really weird, interfering, and (I gather) Essentially UnBritish. AIBU to think it is normal and friendly, or would you be annoyed/ freaked out if a stranger knocked on your door to tell you this?

Flisspaps Wed 08-Jun-11 15:55:58

I'd think it was a nice thing to do. I'd be grateful if someone knocked on our door to tell us!

Reality Wed 08-Jun-11 15:56:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

glitzy Wed 08-Jun-11 15:56:54

I would... but, a) im not "bred" brittish, and b) I left my lights on in my car the other night for 2 hours, and ended up with a dead battery - wish someone had told me.

Did you tell them?

GrimmaTheNome Wed 08-Jun-11 15:57:59

We used to have a car which was designed so that when DH got out his knee often knocked the light switch on - and no audible warning. We quite often had kind souls knock on our door to tell us - much to our gratitude.

travellingwilbury Wed 08-Jun-11 15:58:05

I would be grateful too . I had a knock on the door once from a couple of teenagers who had locked my car for me and handed me the keys .

I had left them in the door blush

HeadfirstForHalos Wed 08-Jun-11 15:58:17

DH left his lights on one evening and somebody did actually knock on and tell us. We were really grateful, it would have been a pain in the bum the next morning to have been about to leave for work only to discover a flat battery!

LadyThumb Wed 08-Jun-11 15:59:35

I would have thought it was a quintessentially British Thing to do!

MotherPanda Wed 08-Jun-11 16:00:15

YABNU, I once knocked on a persons door because they had left their windscreen wipers on. I was about 14 at the time, and had forgotten that it was halloween (I was in my school uniform).

The guy came up to the door, saw me, and walked back into his living room without paying me any heed.

I rang the doorbell again, and this time he did answer the door but said straight out 'no thank you, we don't do trick or treats' - to which I smiled and said 'Just wanted to let you know your windscreen wipers are on'.

He then said thank you and ran out with his keys to save his battery.

Nobody expects you to be nice anymore...

It would be more unBritish not to tell them. I would be very grateful if somebody knocked on my door to let me know.

onepieceofcremeegg Wed 08-Jun-11 16:00:21

When dd1 was born (depths of winter and sleep deprived) I left the lights on several times. Various neighbours used to knock and tell us. It got to the stage when the door would go and I would look at dh and say "ooh bet I left the lights on again!)

Another neighbour occasionally leaves door keys in the lock, we always pop round and tell her.

Tyr Wed 08-Jun-11 16:00:56

I can't imagine anyone being other than appreciative. This is the kind of human decency that is dying out. I hope you knocked and if you did, I'm sure the owner was glad that you did.

emptyshell Wed 08-Jun-11 16:01:04

I do if I know whose car it is - most people on our street would.

Salmotrutta Wed 08-Jun-11 16:01:26

I would have! I've phoned neighbours too if I've spotted this out of the window.

RevoltingPeasant Wed 08-Jun-11 16:01:43

I didn't sad blush

DP seemed to think it was so odd that I thought they wouldn't like it.

Yes, glitzy, I didn't grow up in this country either - where I lived in the US, this would've been par for the course, but I wasn't sure about over here.

I feel like Americans are happier intervening in public, both in negative and positive ways...

TenthCircle Wed 08-Jun-11 16:02:07

I have had people do this for me, several times. I was very grateful. Going out to a flat battery is not nice at all. I would definitely knock in the circumstances you described.

WriterofDreams Wed 08-Jun-11 16:02:50

YANBU. I did this one night and a surly teenager answered the door and was generally teenagery at me. I felt a bit put out but then as I was walking away his dad ran out after me and thanked me profusely grin

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Wed 08-Jun-11 16:03:02

I have done this a couple of times and I am 100% British!

RevoltingPeasant Wed 08-Jun-11 16:03:17

Thing is, these weren't next-door neighbours, they were people 1/4 of a mile away who wouldn't have known me from Adam. I think that's why DP thought it'd be odd also I was wearing pyjamas.

Happyhippychick Wed 08-Jun-11 16:07:30

I have done it, and my dh is always knocking on a little old lady down the road, who alternates between leaving her lights on and leaving her keys in the front door!

going Wed 08-Jun-11 16:07:56

I would knock.

I found a post office missed delivery notice in my town centre recently. The address was close to my house so I popped it back through the person letter box (just incase they couldn't get the parcel without it). Probably confused them a bit when they found it but I felt it was the right thing to do.

glassofwhiteanybody Wed 08-Jun-11 16:10:12

Might depend a bit how late it was but I think most people would appreciate it

CroissantNeuf Wed 08-Jun-11 16:16:13

I've knocked on a strangers door to tell them they've left car lights on before now. They seemed really grateful.

I've also knocked on various neighbours doors to let them know they've keys in the front door, car lights on, keys in the car door/boot lock etc.

In one case I even tracked down a neighbour who had left her front door wide open all day when she wasn't at home.

God it sounds like I'm the local nosey parker neighbourhood watch - I'm not though , honest

AxlRose Wed 08-Jun-11 16:27:59

I would have done it but my DH would have disowned me and walked on grin

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