Parking spaces are no longer big enough for the larger vehicles on our roads, leading to nearly £750million a year in repair bills for minor bumps and dents.

According to a report by repair firm Accident Exchange, more than 500,000 car parking collisions occur annually, a staggering 1,373 every day. We’ve also seen almost a four per cent rise in these types of incidents since 2010 and the need to squeeze bigger cars into parking spaces is partly to blame.

But bigger cars aren’t the only reason why half a million drivers damage their cars each year. Yes, a larger car will, of course, be more difficult to park due to its size. But many drivers of 4x4s, MPVs and other large executive vehicles park perfectly well each day too.

Car park damage also happens to smaller vehicles, so what is the real reason behind these areas being such an accident hotspot?

Parking is normally at the end of a journey, and for some drivers they are already focusing on what they are about to do next. The meeting they are about to attend, the paperwork they need to look at before they go in to see their client, the change they need for the machine or what they need to get from the supermarket!

Here are a few tips to avoid the car park bump:

  • If the car park is dark, switch your lights on, open your window and switch off your radio. It’s important to use all of your senses.
  • Focus on parking your vehicle until you have switched off the engine. Don’t get distracted thinking about the meeting or what you need from the shops.
  • Always reverse into spaces when practical and possible, it will be much easier to pull out forwards when you return to your vehicle later. Don’t reverse until you have looked and that means using your brain as well as your eyes.
  • Take pride in your parking. You may arrive dent free, however if you are parked at an angle or too close to one of the lines then you’re increasing the chances of someone else hitting you.
  • Look at the space you are about to park in and ask yourself – is there a better one available; one that is easier to manoeuvre into and will be simpler for me to open my door and get out of my car – if its tight for you, then it’s tight for the cars either side of you too.
  • And finally, if you are a fleet manager don’t leave parking to chance. For most companies, vehicle damage caused in car parks is not only a sizeable cost (as it is usually damage within the insurance excess), but it’s a sizeable administration headache as well.

Offer training, give guidance and be pro-active in reducing the damage to your cars and vans in car parks. By showing drivers that you are monitoring it, and by interviewing every driver that has a dent or a scrape, will immediately change how carefully they park!