'Parkophobia' is blighting UK motorists

Lack of driving confidence is an issue

Parking problems

A plague of parking phobias is blighting the skills and confidence of UK drivers, according to the AA Driving School.

Parallel parking is causing drivers across the country to doubt their skills, with one in six (16%) saying they're not confident with the manoeuvre.

The AA Driving School survey found that 19% of motorists have changed plans because they couldn't park in available spaces.*

AA Driving School survey highlights problems

There is a big gender split in the figure, with a surprising 25% of female drivers saying they lack the confidence to parallel park, compared to 11% of men.

Drivers in the east of England are the least confident when it comes to parallel parking, with more than one in five (21%) saying they are not confident with the manoeuvre, compared to one in six (16%) nationally. The most confident region is London where only 14% say they are not confident.

Parking problems are causing a needless headache

Jim Kirkwood, AA Driving School

This issue with parking confidence is affecting many motorists, as a nearly one in five (19%) say they have changed plans at the last minute because they lacked the confidence or skills to park in the spaces available. Women (28%) are twice as likely as men (14%) to say they have done this. And drivers in the north-east were most likely (21%) to say they have changed their plans because of potential parking difficulties.

A quarter of all drivers also say they have blacklisted roads where they find parking manoeuvres too hard. And nearly a third of drivers (29%) have blacklisted certain car parks for the same reason. Drivers in Scotland, Wales, the south-east and east were most likely to have done this (all 30%).

More guidance and tuition could help

Jim Kirkwood, managing director of AA Driving School, says: "Parking problems are causing a needless headache for a big proportion of UK drivers.

"Avoiding certain roads and car parks because you don't think you have the skills to park in them – let alone changing plans at the last minute after a parking drama – highlight a skills gap that can easily be addressed.

"Drivers should not feel they are beyond help – most people can overcome their driving problems with a little professional tuition and guidance."

The AA Charitable Trust offers free Drive Confident courses to qualified drivers who think their skills are rusty, or who need a confidence boost. A fully qualified AA Driving School instructor will help address any driving problem – from parking, to roundabouts, or a fear of motorways. To apply for a course visit the AA Charitable Trust website.

Parallel parking tips

  • Line up parallel to the next car against the kerb, about 2 feet away, slightly forward of it
  • Reverse in a straight line till the backs are lined up
  • Steer half a turn left (steering wheel upside down)
  • Continue until 45º to kerb; about 6 inches away
  • Steer quickly to a full lock right
  • Straighten up
  • Ta da!

31 October 2012

* Populus interviewed 20,073 adults aged 18+ on the AA/Populus online panel between 27 September and 4 October 2012. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


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Young lady with car keys