Car park crashes spike at Christmas

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

RACV urges Christmas shoppers to keep their cool when parking at the shops, with car-park collisions spiking in the lead-up to Christmas.   

RACV General Manager Motor Insurance, Mark Geraghty, says there were 27 per cent more car-park collision insurance claims in December than the monthly average in the 2015-16 financial year.

“Motorists manoeuvring into car-parking spaces must remember that they are driving in very confined and, at this time of year, usually very busy areas. The lead-up to Christmas can create stress and they should stay calm and be courteous to other drivers,” Mr Geraghty says.

“RACV insurance claims data shows that although total car-park collisions for the year dipped 2 per cent, there were almost 9,000 car-park collisions in Victoria last financial year at an average cost of $2645.

“Forty-four per cent of car-park collisions happened while reversing. The figures revealed that 22 per cent of car-park collisions involved stationary objects such as poles, pylons and shopping trolleys,” Mr Geraghty says.

Melbourne City local government area recorded the highest incidence of car-park collisions, with one incident per 260 residents.

“Whether you are at a metropolitan car park or at a regional centre, cars and car parks can be a costly combination and drivers must remain vigilant,” Mr Geraghty says.

“Drivers should always travel at a safe speed, turn headlights on in dark undercover car parks and be alert for pedestrians and other cars. Extra care should be taken to check mirrors and blind spots to reduce the chance of hitting pedestrians, other vehicles and obstacles.

“But remember that similar precautionary rules apply on the road as well.”

Mr Geraghty says that even in a seemingly minor incident uninsured motorists could face costly repairs to their vehicle and liability for any damage caused to other vehicles or property.

“It is prudent for motorists to take out comprehensive insurance cover,” Mr Geraghty says.

Written by RACV
December 19, 2016

RACV car park collision insurance claims 2015-16 – Top 25 local government areas (Source: RACV)

   Local government area Car park collisions*
   Melbourne City 531
   Monash 492
   Whitehorse 402
   Greater Geelong 341
   Boroondara 335
   Knox 335
   Casey 288
   Manningham 284
   Kingston 271
   Hume 270
   Whittlesea 261
   Stonnington 243
   Greater Dandenong 237
   Brimbank 234
   Darebin 232
   Mornington Peninsula 230
   Wyndham City 215
   Banyule City 191
   Maroondah 189
   Port Phillip 174
   Yarra Ranges 172
   Frankston 169
   Moonee Valley 159
   Greater Bendigo 158
   Glen Eira 149

*Figures based on key word search of RACV claims database.

Ten tips for avoiding a car park crash

  1. Drive at a safe speed for the conditions and be patient, allowing time and space for others to move.
  2. Be visible – turn your headlights on in undercover car parks.
  3. Take particular care to watch out for children, especially when reversing.
  4. Look out for other vehicles, pedestrians and objects such as poles and trolleys.
  5. Take extra care when reversing. Don’t rely only on your mirrors – look over your shoulder as well.
  6. Clearly indicate your intentions to other drivers and pedestrians.
  7. Note pillars, poles and walls. Ensure you have enough turning room.
  8. Be aware of when your concentration may be at a low level and be especially careful.
  9. If feasible, reverse into a car space, so it's easier to see in both directions when pulling out.
  10. Return your trolley to a trolley bay to avoid inconvenience to other drivers.