One in ten British drivers has no regard for the rules of the car park, with SUV drivers the worst offenders.
A study of the nation’s parking habits found that many motorists leave their manners at home when heading out in the car, ignoring one-way routes, space markings and even disabled designations.
Insurer Direct Line sent researchers out into the field to trawl the nation’s car parks and record parking pests.
They found that the most common parking offence was cars parked across the lines of more than one bay, with a sixth of all vehicles parked like this.
More serious however, was the revelation that more than quarter of all cars (26 per cent) parked in disabled bays weren’t displaying a blue badge, despite the fact that the offence can lead to fines and the vehicle being impounded.
The study of vehicles also found that while an average of 10 per cent of drivers broke car park etiquette, almost a third (31 per cent) of offenders drove SUVs, with supermini owners (18 per cent) and MPV drivers (13 per cent) behind them.
VW owners were the worst when the offences were broken down by brand. One in ten offenders was behind the wheel of the German marque, with other offenders including drivers of Vauxhalls (eight per cent) and Fords (eight per cent).
Su Karki, marketing manager at Direct Line, commented: “Many of us are leading very busy lives and perhaps this may be leading to some motorists rushing, and in turn, parking across bay lines or failing to observe the direction of travel. This is particularly problematic when car parks are at their busiest, leaving people at greater risk of prangs as they meet traffic travelling in the wrong direction or are forced to park next to poorly positioned vehicles.
“Disabled bays are deliberately situated in the most convenient positions for those holding Blue Badges and should be left vacant for them. Anyone using them without need should have a think about the impact this could have on those who do and exercise some compassion and patience in future.”
Part of the problem is that while car parking dimensions have remained the same for many years cars have grown substantially over that time. A standard parking bay is 4.8m by 2.4m and while a Ford Escort in the 1980s measured around 3.9m by 1.6m its modern equivalent, the Focus is half a metre longer and 20cm wider. More problematic is the rise of large SUVs such as the current Range Rover which is 5m long and 2m wide.