‘Tis the season for car park collisions

With Christmas cheer almost here, AMI Insurance is calling for New Zealand drivers to take extra care when hitting the shops as car park collisions spike in December.

In conjunction with IAG, the insurer reviewed claims data for all of New Zealand over the three years to 30 June and found that car park collisions in December increased by 15 per cent above the annual average, with Thursday the most likely day of the week for them to occur, followed closely by Friday.

AMI’s General Manager Claims Ruth Colenso said that the lead up to Christmas saw many people heading to shopping malls to do their Christmas shopping.

“Christmas is an extremely busy period which at times can be stressful, so it’s important drivers stay calm at the wheel and courteous to other drivers on roads and in car parks,” Ms Colenso said.

“Stress can affect your concentration and losing focus for even one second puts you at a greater risk of having a collision.”

“We’re calling for shoppers to drive carefully this festive season and to avoid denting your Christmas spirit in the car park,” Ms Colenso said.

AMI’s Claims Technical Specialist Chris Kiddey said that typical conditions in car parks, including lower speeds and more reversing, meant that collisions often caused less damage than open road collisions, but that these same conditions could also make it more difficult to determine the cause of the accident.

“There are a lot more cars in a lot less space and, unlike the open road where everyone is moving in a clear direction, in a car park there tends to be more stopping and starting, changing direction and reversing,” Mr Kiddey said.

AMI also revealed that as driving age increases, so too does the proportion of accidents that occur in car parks.

For drivers under the age of 20 eight per cent of accidents occurred in car parks, while this percentage generally increased with age group up to 20% for those aged 65 and over.

“This may simply reflect changes in lifestyle where older drivers find they’re spending proportionally more time in car parks than they used to,” My Kiddey said.

For a less stressful Christmas parking experience, AMI Insurance offers the following tips:

  • drive slowly and carefully in car parks and be courteous to others
  • be alert to hazards and keep your focus on driving, even at low speeds
  • when reversing in or out of a car space, drive slowly and don’t just rely on your mirrors – look over your shoulder as well
  • reversing cameras and sensors can help, but drivers should still be aware of what’s around them
  • if you can, reverse into a car space, so it’s easier to see in both directions when pulling out
  • do your bit by returning shopping trolleys to their bay
  • use indicators every time you make a turn
  • be patient and give others time and room to move
  • if you hit a parked car, do the right thing and leave a note with your details
  • if you witness a collision, pass on any information you have to the parties involved

 

Car park dangers*

  • Car park collisions make up 16% of all collisions each year
  • The average cost of a claim arising from a car park incident is just over half the average cost of a claim from a non car park incident
  • There were more claims for damage to parked cars inside car parks than outside them
  • More car park incidents occur on a Thursday than any other day of the week, followed closely by Friday
  • Each year, December recorded the highest number of car park collisions
  • For drivers over the age of 65, one fifth of all collisions occurred in a car park, while for drivers under 20 this figure was just eight per cent
  • 20% of all collisions on the road occurred while reversing. When in car parks, reversing incidents increased to 37%

*Based on claims data from IAG for the period 1 July 12 – 30 June 2015

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