Parking: The Most Common Errors

Posted by Simon R 04/06/2021 0 Comment(s)

Motorists in the UK spend a massive £1.5 billion a year on repairing damage caused by parking accidents. While a prang may seem innocuous, more than 3.7 million drivers cause serious damage to their vehicle by making a mistake when manoeuvring into a tight spot.


Two-thirds of drivers say their accident occurred in a car park, while the remainder happened on the road. The average repair bill per car is £396. More than one-third (35%) of motorists have had more than one parking accident; including 28% who have had three; and a shocking 23% who have had five parking disasters.


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Research by the RAC shows the true extent of how difficult parking is to some drivers - even the experienced ones. Of course, it's not only the driver's own vehicle that gets damaged. Other vehicles and even property can be damaged.



Where do most parking accidents happen?

Most parking accidents occur in the supermarket car park - 48%. This is not too surprising, since a lot of cars are all gathered in a relatively tight space. The turnover of cars is rapid, and people are either rushing into the supermarket to do their shopping or dashing home with frozen foods. People start to feel anxious and tempers are often frayed.


Other public car parks account for 16% of parking accidents. The RAC says, considering the high number of accidents per year and the associated costs, drivers need to pay very careful attention to where and how they park.



What are the most common parking errors?

So, come on, be honest: how many times have you tried to park in a gap that's too small? However adept a driving you are, if your vehicle won't fit in the space, no amount of manoeuvring is going to let you squeeze in. It can only end in disaster.


Trying to get a vehicle into a gap that's not big enough mainly occurs when parallel parking. The experts say it's not always down to the space being physically too small; accidents can also occur simply because your confidence has taken a knock and you get more stressed when you can't fit into a tight gap.


Another factor that increases stress is if you're holding up traffic when you try to park. Most drivers have been in a situation when they spot a roadside parking space, indicate that they're pulling over, before trying to reverse in.


If you're on a main road, it only takes a minute for traffic to start building up behind you, causing anxiety, especially if other drivers beep their horn, or you have to reverse in and out a few times because you're at the wrong angle.


Never be tempted to rush, just because someone beeps their horn at you. It's better to take your time and be careful, rather than scraping your car. If you really can't manage it, admit defeat and drive off to find a bigger space.


Another cause of accidents is feeling too embarrassed to ask for help when parking. If you have a passenger, there's no shame in asking them to hop out and guide you into a space. This can be a big help, as your mirrors can only show you so much.



Bad habits - or just bad driving?

A lack of experience when it comes to parallel parking can sometimes spell disaster. This tricky move is something a lot of new drivers avoid. However, it's a case of "practice makes perfect" with parallel parking. If you never give it a go, you will never get any better.


Parking accidents that occur due to a lack of practice can be attributed to bad driving. By failing to keep trying, you will never learn how to park properly and may be stuck in "new driver" mode for many years. You can never improve and become a better driver if you don't practice the things you're not good at.



How many insurance claims are made for parking accidents?

At least 20% of all UK insurance claims come from accidents that have happened in a car park, according to the AA. However, this doesn't accurately reflect the number of accidents, as one in five motorists admit to having driven away without stopping if the damage is only minor - leaving many parking prangs unreported! The reason they gave was because it would affect their no-claims bonus.


As with any other skill, you can improve your parking expertise through practice - and luckily, there are parking aids around that can help! Parking sensors give you a better chance of safely negotiating a parking space, as they use intelligent detection to help you avoid obstacles. You could also use a reverse camera to provide sharp images of the area behind as you park.


Shall we get into the debate about who the better drivers are, men or women? No, I think we’ll leave it there!