Why do some brits fear parallel parking?

26 October 2023

Fiat looks at parallel parking and on average, drivers are willing to park almost one mile away - or a 20 minute walk - from their destination to avoid parallel parking,TV personality Jamie Laing says he’ll avoid parallel parking ‘at all costs’ as nearly half (44%) of motorists admit to being fearful of the parking manoeuvre. Men are twice as confident at parallel parking compared to women. The UK’s best and worst regions for parallel parking have been revealed with Yorkshire and Humber at the top of the list and  Londoners coming last. In total, Brits fork out over £1.5 billion due to parking prangs.

A survey of 2,000 motorists, commissioned by FIAT, has lifted the lid on how Brits feel about the dreaded parking procedure and uncovered the financial impact of poor parking skills.On average, drivers spend £158 on repairs over their lifetime thanks to parking gone wrong, equating to a staggering £1.5 billion*.The leading reasons Brits fear parallel parking include blocking the road and keeping other drivers waiting (40%), worrying about getting too close to and damaging other cars (37%),  fear of being embarrassed and pressured by people watching (36%), worrying about taking too long to park (30%) and not understanding the yellow lines (23%).

Why do some brits fear parallel parking?

"Learning to drive has been like navigating through a maze of frustration, and parallel parking? Don't even get me started. It’s my least favourite manoeuvre to do.  It makes my palms sweat. I swear whenever I attempt one my car's magnetically drawn to the kerb. It's a skill I've just never quite mastered and I will avoid it at all costs. I stopped learning to drive a little while ago but after finally passing my theory test having booked around 70 tests, and having to renew my provisional licence as it had expired after 10 years, I’m back learning to drive in a Fiat 500 electric with Francis Noakes from Driving School TV. This guy has already shown me some secret magic trick that suddenly made parallel parking easier and, dare I say, fun to learn - perhaps it’s that the 500e is small and compact to park. He also unofficially helped me match a world record, sort of."

Why do some brits fear parallel parking?

FIAT’s research also revealed drivers spend an average of four and a half hours a year attempting to parallel park** - equating to eight days of their life***. Parallel parking makes 45% of Brits feel stressed, while 41% have relied on a stranger to help them do it. 67% have driven past a potential space rather than attempt the idea of a parallel park once or multiple times. On average, drivers will attempt a parallel park four times before parking successfully. Men were twice as confident (32% men very confident vs 16% women very confident), yet there appeared to be very little difference in actual competence with men taking equally as long to complete a parallel park as women (approx. 1.5 minutes). For those that do manage to parallel park successfully, 31% leave feeling smug, 30% admire their work, 18% brag about it on social media and 17% even do a happy dance.

The FIAT Parallel Parking Index also determined the regions that struggle the most and least with the parallel park. FIAT scored drivers by region on the following factors; average distance from destination drivers are willing to park, average time taken to successfully complete a parallel park, percentage of drivers that are confident, fearful and stressed about the parking manoeuvre, as well as how much money has been spent on fixing their cars as a result of a parallel parking shunt.

The most competent parallel parkers were drivers from the North East. While drivers from London, Scotland and the North West occupied the bottom three spots.Most notably, Londoners were open to parking a staggering 1.2 miles away from their destination - the equivalent distance of walking between the London Eye and Buckingham Palace: around a 24-minute journey. On the flip side, drivers from Yorkshire and the Humber weren’t willing to park any further than 0.4 miles (less than 10 minute walk) from their intended destination.Meanwhile, Londoners have forked out £207 on parking prangs, while those in Yorkshire and the Humber have spent nearly £100 less (£129.50) on average.

Damien Dally, FIAT UK Managing Director, said: “It’s a well-known fact that cars have grown in size in recent years, which can only add to the additional stress of parallel parking caused by things like fear of holding up traffic, or bumping into and damaging another car. The all-electric Fiat 500e is the ultimate city car, having won countless industry awards. It’s the perfect compact car to get around and park in crowded cities or busy urban environments, alleviating the fears of tricky manoeuvres for drivers. In addition, the 500e is packed full of technology that helps drivers park more easily, from park assist, to blind-spot monitoring and rear-view camera. But not every driver is able to benefit from the size and capabilities of a 500e when it comes to parking, which is why we’re hoping our parking guide will help to reduce 'parallelophobia' impacting millions of Brits.”


*Average amount spent on fixing cars after hitting other cars while parking is £158.10

£158.10*((34,292,000 (UK car drivers (source GWI))/100)*29 - percentage who have hit another car while parking)) = £1,572,253,908

**Average amount of times people park a week (3.3)*How much time spent per parallel park (1.5 minutes)*52= 257.4 minutes / 4.29 hours

***Based on driving from the age of 17 to 67


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