Britain’s motorists are suffering from a peculiar fear. Forget rationale phobias such as heights, spiders and snakes, it seems our roads are occupied by countless numbers of people suffering from ‘parallelophobia’ – a fear of parallel parking.
Almost a third of drivers, that’s potentially more than 11 million, admit the prospect of trying to manoeuvre their motor into a parallel space drives them to distraction, and 34 per cent confessed they think it’s the hardest parking technique.
More than half of drivers have gone past an empty space because it meant they would have had to carry out the procedure they fear the most.
Three in ten admit to parking more than a MILE from their destination rather than attempt to parallel park.
And one in five said they would rather continue to circle round a car park or street until an easier space becomes available.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com which commissioned the survey of 2,000 drivers to mark the launch of its new parking tool, said: “Parallelophobia is a fear that resonates with many drivers, with some going to great lengths to avoid performing the manoeuvre.
“As one of the more technical parts of driving, it’s understandable why some motorists may be frightened of damaging other cars as well as their own.
“This week drivers everywhere will be hitting the sales and competing for precious parking spaces, so it’s likely that this phobia of parallel parking will be heightened over the period.
“Those who are confident parallel parkers should use their fearlessness to their advantage as it will surely give them the best chance of getting a space during this competitive time.”
The study also revealed that 63 per cent of drivers said they struggle to park when they’re trying to get used to the size of their new car.
In fact, some of the most common problems when trying to parallel park were found to be bumping into the car in front or behind, becoming stuck mid-manoeuvre and unable to get out of the space or accidentally running someone over .
And of those who have bumped another car while trying to parallel park, only five per cent said they left their insurance details for the other driver.
But it seems stress might be a big factor as knowing there are other drivers waiting for you to complete the parallel park and having a partner in the car have been named as two of the most stressful parts about parallel parking.
In fact, parallel parking was named one of the most stressful things in life by 16 per cent of drivers, this was compared to 13 per cent who said meeting the other half’s family for the first time and 10 per cent who said being stuck behind a learner driver was a big stress for them.
While one in 13 said getting the children out of the house in time for school was by far the most stressful thing in life.
The study put together a list of the most stressful things in life, with parallel parking landing in 14th and finding a parking space came 15th.
The study found that many drivers struggle with the manoeuvre because they’re frightened of hitting someone else’s car, while one in five admit it’s because they have no spatial awareness.
Eighteen per cent said they have real problems parallel parking because they can’t see the front or back of their car from the driver’s seat.
Many will avoid the task altogether by parking on a curb and some have even asked their travel companion to get out and park the car for them.
The study revealed, one in 10 women thinks everything about parking is stressful to them – it’s one of the hardest parts about driving.
In fact 77 per cent of men find it easy to complete a parallel park, compared to only 44 per cent of women.
To help drivers save money and overcome the stresses of parking Confused.com, the No.1 site for car savings, has launched a parking tool which allows drivers to find and book over 250,000 parking spaces nationwide.
Amanda added: “We spend far too much time trying to find a space to park and often this comes down to the type of space we’re comfortable in parking in, as well as the cost of fees and availability of space.
“The Confused.com parking tool overcomes this by allowing drivers to compare numerous car parks within a certain area, including their costs, availability and other features, such as the type of space, access hours and security. Drivers can book in advance, so less confident parallel parkers and fearless parallel parkers alike can ensure they have a parking space.
“Whether you’re a commuter looking to book a long-term parking space or you want to guarantee parking ahead of a concert or sporting event, the tool will help you find and book a space to suit you. You may even get a better deal by booking in advance!”
TOP 25 MOST STRESSFUL THINGS IN LIFE ACCORDING TO DRIVERS
- Running late
- Applying for a job
- Losing your phone/bank card
- Long queues
- Driving the car with very little petrol and not knowing where next petrol station is
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Noisy neighbours
- Driving somewhere you’ve never been before
- Anticipating an awkward conversation
- Planning a wedding
- Missing your train/bus
- Crowded public transport
- Trying to find your keys when you’re in a rush
- Parallel parking
- Finding a parking space
- Plans being changed at last minute
- Meeting the other half’s family for the first time
- Having to get work finished before a holiday
- Trying to find a last minute outfit
- Being stuck behind a learner driver
- Going through security at an airport
- Remembering people’s names
- Getting children out of the house in time for school & work
- Receiving a text or call from an unknown number
- When your child is rude to someone and there’s nothing you can do to retract their statements