Bank Holiday Parking – it’s enough to drive motorists around the bend (and the wrong way around the car park)

Bank Holiday driving stress won't end at the destination this weekend - more than 4.7 million cars will be fighting for 279,000 car parking spaces

27 August 2010

Posted in Product

Never mind the traffic jams, it's the parking space premium that should be a cause for concern this Bank Holiday weekend as 6.6 million cars hit the road and 4.7 million of those head to holiday hotspots. A new report1 by leading UK motor insurer AXA has calculated that for every parking space in the top hotspots across Britain, there will be 16 cars fighting for it.

With the beach the most popular destination for the August Bank Holiday weekend, it's no surprise that Bournemouth and Brighton parking spaces are the most in demand: Brighton will have just one spot for every 79 cars, while Bournemouth has one for every 76 cars. And as temperatures soar, so will our tempers, it seems.

The survey shows that parking brings out the worst in us at any time of year, with almost all of us (95%) getting frustrated (and a third of us getting 'extremely' frustrated) with the struggle to find a space and bad manners on display in car parks. One in four of us are so determined to get that spot that we will speed around the car park, while one in six (17%) will go the wrong way around a one-way system to grab a spot before someone else.

One in 14 (7%) admit to almost causing an accident when they nipped in a space, despite the car in front having its indicators on, while 2% admit to bumping another car out of the way. Meanwhile, one in five sit waiting for someone to return to their car despite holding up other drivers, while an astonishing 2% resort to intimidation, shouting their way into a space. A shameless 5% say they wouldn't think twice about using a disabled or parent-child bay without having either a disability of a child.

Surprisingly, it's those driving with their friends who are the worst culprits when attempting to get a space, followed by families travelling together. Those travelling alone are the best-behaved, perhaps because they have no distractions encouraging them to get out of the car as soon as possible.

Tina Shortle from AXA motor insurance said: “Car parks seem to bring out the worst in us, as we get frustrated not only by the lack of spaces but also by the sometimes incredible displays of aggression and bad manners that go with it. Add in a hot day and children in the back of the car after hours spent in a traffic jam, as is likely this Bank Holiday weekend, and you've got a recipe for a lot of bad moods. That's one of the reasons we want to bring back respectful driving and put an end to car park provocations.”

Other findings:

  • Over half the UK population plans to go away this coming Bank Holiday weekend
  • Two thirds will hit the road by car, with only 17% letting the train take the strain and just 7% on the coach. A further 6% will take to the skies to get away from it all this weekend.
  • Concerns about traffic affects almost half of us (44%), while the idea of being stuck in the car too long with the kids has 6% fretting.

Top ten destinations for August Bank Holiday weekend, and the number of cars to parking spot ratio:

Top Bank Holiday Destination

Ratio of number of cars: parking spaces

1. Bournemouth


2. London


3. Brighton


4. Blackpool


5. York


6. Southampton


7. Edinburgh


8. Newquay


9. Leeds


10. Bath


1 Survey completed by OnePoll amongst 2,000 UK adults in July 2010.