British people are lousy parkers, new research suggests.
A survey by Admiral found many motorists have asked other people to park their car for them.
Many find it hard to park if someone is watching while 16% have had an accident when parking, the poll found.
Based on responses from 2,000 motorists, 19% admitted they had asked someone else to park for them, with women (23%) more likely than men (16%) to seek help. Four out of 10 confessed they had difficulty parking if people were watching, while 17% of men and 15% of women had had an accident while parking.
The survey also found one in five had got into a row with someone over a parking space. One in six had left a note criticising others’ parking and 18% had used a disabled space.
Are we a nation of bad parkers? The Courier put this to the test and reporters Gayle Ritchie and Graeme Ogston took on our parallel parking challenge.
We took a 3.6-metre long Ford Fiesta, measured out a generous 6m parking space and invited our participants to reverse park into the space.
One thing is for sure: neither of them came close to equalling China’s Han Lee, who last month handbrake turned into a space just 3.4 inches longer than his car.
As motoring editor, I was asked to adjudicate the parking contest, writes Jack McKeown.
I awarded points for speed, accuracy, distance from the kerb, and general panache.
First up was Gayle. Clearly nervous, she edged gingerly into the space but didn’t do at all badly, ending up 47cm from the kerb.
Next up was Graeme. He sliced aggressively into the space…then took two goes at straightening up before abandoning the car at a slightly jaunty angle.
His attempt ended up taking much longer than Gayle’s and he was only 4cm closer to the kerb.
Victory goes to the lady, who clearly was for turning.
I WAS AIMING FOR PARALLEL, NOT PANACHE
I’m all for a challenge, writes Graeme Ogston.
But, rather than a tape measure, Jack should have been pictured with the large spade he used to uproot and move the goalposts in this so-called ‘competition’.
The contest wasn’t new to me. I was defeated a few years back in an identical reverse parking competition when I worked for our sister newspaper the Evening Telegraph.
My competitor then was determined and won well. The rules were well explained and set out in advance.
So, when I confidently reversed into the space yesterday before making some last-minute adjustments, I thought I had it in the bag.
Imagine my surprise when Jack starts banging on about points being deducted for time taken and, astonishingly, lack of “panache” a word that I thought went out with flares and Old Spice.
Hats off to Gayle but we all know who really won, don’t we, Jack?
SORRY FOR SWEARING
Parallel parking has never been a forte of mine, writes Gayle Ritchie.
I always hunt for a space big enough to accommodate a bus rather than risk the humiliation of attempting to park, failing and then driving off.
It’s been a long time since I passed my driving test so any rules about how far to turn the wheel and aligning cars in the rear windscreen are long forgotten.
With a group of onlookers watching my every move, the park-off with Graeme was a somewhat tense, nerve-racking experience.
A few expletives escaped as I manoeuvred my way into the generous space.
Not quite big enough for a bus but certainly big enough for a Fiesta.
Eventually, I was in although I wasn’t as close to the kerb as I should’ve been (I may have failed a test).
At least I didn’t hit the kerb or any of the other cars. Phew.