Why do so many people avoid parallel parking?
We've all been there… nightmare morning, running late, driven around for 15 minutes trying to find a parking space, maybe a screaming child or two in the back? All of a sudden a space opens up: bingo! But there are cars parked either side and the space is far from generous. The pressure's on.
And it's even worse when captured on camera, as one unlucky driver recently discovered. She was filmed taking 7 minutes and 18 failed manoeuvres to get into a space. If that wasn't bad enough, the video then went viral.
Unsurprisingly, these things can often result in minor bumps on roads and in car parks across the country, which in turn can have an adverse effect on the cost of your insurance. So it's tempting not to leave a note or tell your insurer — after all, no damage is visible and no one was hurt, right?
Don't 'dent and run'
In a recent survey of 1000 drivers, all admitted accidentally damaging another car. Of those who 'dented and ran', more than a third said they didn't feel guilty about it. And more than a quarter admitted doing damage, such as creating a visible dent in the other car.
It might seem like there's no harm done but that's not always the case. Often a low speed impact will cause minor damage by dislodging or scratching a bumper. Doing damage to another car and not owning up is an important issue. In fact, it's a crime.
The Road Traffic Act says you should always leave your details at the scene of an incident. If you don't, you've got up to 24 hours after to drop them into the local police station.
You should always tell your insurer too, however small the bump. Failure to keep them up to date with your driving history can result in any claims you make being rejected or your policy being cancelled.
Do you have parallelophobia?
"Human beings are not genetically programmed to go backwards, so reversing in general is really quite difficult when you're learning to drive," says Kevin Delaney at the Institute of Advanced Motorists. He's not wrong, over half of drivers say they'll carry on driving to avoid parallel parking.
Dubbed 'parallelophobia', there are a number of reasons people find it difficult. It's a more technical manoeuvre, with the added worry of damaging your own or someone else's car. Having other drivers waiting for you to park or a friend or partner in the car with you, can also make it a lot more stressful.
The secret to the perfect parallel? Delaney says confidence and practise is the key. Who'd have thought?
The good news
Thanks to advances in technology, parking's getting easier. A number of developments such as parking sensors, reverse cameras and autonomous driving mean we're well on the way to a less stressful and accident free parking experience.
The technology behind car parking sensors has been around since the 70s and was developed to create guidance devices for the blind. It took 30 years to see the technology arrive in motor vehicles, with the Toyota Prius in 2003.
Surprisingly, the idea of the reverse camera dates back to the Buick Centurion in 1956. Combined with parking sensors, the two complement one another to give a clearer picture of the obstacles around us.
If you think no one can park your car for you — think again. The BMW i3 (released in 2015), can park itself fully autonomously and even engage the handbrake for you. Ford and Volvo have plans to get fully autonomous cars on the road by 2021.
As well as a more stress-free drive, new technology should help to keep the cost of insurance down, by reducing the number of small claims as drivers touch bumpers when parking.
If your car's been damaged whilst parked you can still make a claim but remember, if your insurer can't reclaim their costs then it could affect your no claims discount.
At Hastings Direct we pride ourselves on offering quality insurance at competitive prices. Our Direct and Premier car policies are Defaqto 5 star rated and come with a range of great benefits as standard.
Get a quote today and see how much you could save.