No two motorists are ever the same. Everyone has their own individual habits, traits and quirks when it comes to driving, especially with regards to parking.
Take parallel parking, for example. What could be a breeze for a seasoned driver, might be a total uphill battle for another. And while someone might not give a second thought to parking across a stranger’s drive, somebody else probably thinks such an act is the height of poor etiquette.
Matters like the above needed a little extra investigation. So that’s exactly what we did. Want to know just what the UK’s parking habits are? You’ll find the results of our survey – along with some pretty scandalous admissions from a range of UK motorists – below.
To find out the habits of drivers around the country, we surveyed 1,000 UK drivers, gleaning their thoughts and opinions on a range of topics, including particular skills, their previous parking experiences, certain parking situations, and reactions to hypothetical situations.
Once we’d gathered their responses together, we split the data into specific demographics, including region, age, type of vehicle, and how much time had passed since our participants passed their driving tests.
Even though your car remains stationary, parking where you’re supposed to is obviously a big part of motoring. Nevertheless, our survey shows that quite a few UK motorists are willing to cut corners when it comes to finding a space of some kind.
As you can see from the above, 37% of participants stated they park unlawfully, with a lack of lawful parking spaces being the top reason for doing so. Breaking down the stat, a further 6% admit they’ve parked in disabled bays, 15% of drivers admitted to parking in a parent and child bay unlawfully, while an additional 15% stated they had parked in a loading bay illegally.
Elsewhere, being in a rush (31%) and the sheer convenience of parking wherever they chose to (18%) ranked highly – 1 in 10 motorists admitted they’d used their hazard lights simply so they could park where they liked. Meanwhile, a quarter of motorists said they would park unlawfully – but only if was for a short amount of time.
Not that any of these reasons are justifiable (they’re all unlawful after all), but some of the arguments for parking illegally struck us as plain silly more than others. 15% stated it was due to their lack of parking skills, while a further 29% of drivers admitted that they’d had someone else park their car for them, simply because they couldn’t do it!
Meanwhile, 9% opted to park unlawfully out of sheer laziness, and 8% stated they did so purely because they didn’t want other cars to be parked by their prized motor.
At the bottom end of the table, the reasons became even more flagrant. 3% stated that parking unlawfully wasn’t an issue because they would usually get away with doing it. Meanwhile, the boldest reason was reserve for the lowest percentage: just 1% of people said they wouldn’t even bother to pay the fine, should they be faced with repercussions.
The results are in. When it comes to parking technique, UK motorists struggle with parallel parking the most, with just over 1/5 of drivers admitting they’re not able to squeeze their vehicle into tricky spaces. With that said, even the most seasoned of drivers can find parallel parking daunting, so we’ll reserve any judgments here.
Slightly more worrying is the fact that 16% of drivers can’t reverse bay park. With that said, when you factor in that 12% stated they’d hit someone else’s vehicle when parking, 30% had hit a stationary object while parking, and 36% said they had their vehicle hit by someone else (as a result of shoddy parking, perhaps), then the reverse bay park statistic becomes a little more explainable.
Forward bay parking proved less of an issue for motorists, with 94% stating they could pull off the manoeuvre without issue. As for how these skills differed by region, the East Midlands seems to be the part of the UK where drivers truly excelled. Yorkshire & the Humber also boasted a 100% yes rate when it came to forward bay parking. London, meanwhile, fared the worst, scoring the lowest yes amounts across the board. That said, the nation’s capital isn’t somewhere we’d like to test our parking techniques in either.
When it came to manual and automatic drivers, both shared similar skills when it came to parking. And it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that the longer the time since passing their test, the better drivers were at parking.
As for other parking habits, there were plenty of other behaviours that our participants weren’t shy in revealing. For starters, just over 1 in 5 drivers (or 21%) said they would not leave a note on someone’s vehicle if they hit them while parking – providing nobody saw them do it, of course!
Overnight parking away from home was another concern. 61% of drivers admitted they didn’t feel comfortable parking their car anywhere that wasn’t their home through the night.
An impressive 62% of motorists believe they should not be allowed to park on the pavement, though 38% believe they should be allowed. And finally, perhaps the most controversial of issues: 6% of drivers said they’d park over somebody’s drive who they did not know or weren’t visiting. Proximity is clearly a touchy topic. 59% of drivers said they were up in arms over others parking outside their house – even when it’s not technically over their drive!