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A nation of prang and runners?

16th March 2012 Print

Research released by car insurance expert reveals that careless car parking has led to £1.3bn worth of damage.  An alarming 1 in 6 drivers would never leave insurance details if they pranged another car, and 45% would only consider it if the accident looked serious. To combat the problem is today announcing a campaign to promote Car Parking Etiquette.

The Guilty Parkies

Where not to leave your car

The most likely cities to become a victim of a prang and run:

1 Worcester
2 Wrexham
3 Leicester
4 Chelmsford
5 Leeds

Surprisingly, when it comes to car park scrapes, the nation's lawyers are amongst some of the worst offenders, with more than 1 in 4 (26%) admitting to having committed a prang and run.  Also well above the average are those working in property with 1 in 3 choosing to go without leaving their insurance details.

Parents will be glad to see that teachers lead by example and are some of the least likely to be guilty, with less than 9% committing prang and runs.  Those working in environmental services prove that they really are more considerate to others - only 8% have left the scene of a scrape.

The research also shows that men are more likely to have a car park prang than women, with nearly 20% having scraped another car compared to only 15% of women. Not only are men more likely to be driving carelessly, but they also admit to it. 1 in 5 men blame their own careless driving for a car park accident, compared to women who would rather blame the stingy sizes of the UK's car park spaces (42% of women against 33% of men).

Those who have been driving the longest behave the most responsibly in car parks, with more than 50% of over 55s always leaving insurance details compared to only 30% of 18-24 year olds.

Any Excuse

For all those drivers who prang and run, the most likely reason for red-faced drivers is embarrassment (31%).  This is closely followed by cash-strapped drivers who blame financial implications (30%) for their lack of honesty.  As insurance costs continue to rise,it's no surprise that drivers are determined to hold onto their no claims bonuses.In fact, UK drivers prefer to blame anything except themselves, with only 16% blaming their own driving for car park prangs.

Over 1 in 5 also blame a shortage of time to wait and leave details. "To encourage some honesty and car park etiquette", says Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at, "we are offering visitors an ‘If You Bump me Don't Run, Be Nice and Leave Your Number' sticker for your car window, to encourage others to leave their details if they bump your vehicle." The sticker can be downloaded from

Sardine Car Parks - the real reason?

65% of motorists blame their car park frustrations on the small size of parking bays, with nearly half (41%)finding the amount of pillars in car parks the reason for their bumps and scrapes.   Only 1 in 10 of us find parking in our car parks easy - but this problem is exacerbated by the trend for bigger cars. Whilst the typical family car has become more than a foot wider over the past 50 years, the industry standard for the car parking space is 2400mm x 4800mm has not changed.

The research shows that younger drivers are actually more tolerant to the UK's car parks, with 13% of 18-24 year olds finding them easy to park in compared to under 5% of over 55's.

Whilst this sardine syndrome doesn't give people a reason to prang and run, it adds to drivers' frustrations when parking.

These supersized cars include the new Mini, which is 50cm wider than the original; the new Beetle, which is 8.4cm wider than it's original; and the revised Fiat 500 which is over 30cm wider than its predecessor.

Whereas the average width of new cars sold last year was 6ft 1inch, the size of the minimum car parking space should be 5ft 11 in  - and this is before you take into account the space needed for opening the door, never mind using prams or shopping trolleys. These are guidelines set by Department of Transport and they haven't been changed since 1994.

"Motorists should be extra vigilant in car parks, taking into account the size of our cars compared to the average size of parking spaces," says Kloet. "This is even more reason to respect other drivers, to confess to any prangs and to exercise Car Parking Etiquette to help other drivers."

For information about car parking prangs and your free downloadable sticker, visit