17% of spaces unavailable due to bad parking, study finds

What's the parking like where you live?
What's the parking like where you live?

Up to 17% of parking spaces on UK streets could be freed up if drivers stopped parking badly, it has been estimated.

Park assist technology, where the vehicle automatically steers itself into a space, could improve parking capacity on the UK's most congested roads by 17% and free up thousands of spaces, according to analysis by Direct Line Car Insurance.

Experts reviewed 120 roads where kerbside parking bays were "full" and there was no space between any two vehicles to fit in an additional car.

They calculated how much additional space would be available if every car on the street had used the new technology which parks vehicles equal distances from each other.

London and Birmingham were the places which had the greatest average distances between parked vehicles and capacity could be increased by 20% if all drivers used the technology, according to the study.

Brighton was found to have the most efficient parkers, where 11% extra capacity was left on "full" streets in the city centre.

Motorists may complain of struggling to find a space but an issue may be other drivers who have parked badly, with 47% of drivers claiming it has been a major frustration in the last year, according to research commissioned by Direct Line.

Of 2,003 adults questioned in May 2017, 38% said they had deliberately left space around their car to stop another vehicle parking next to it, 31% had picked a parking spot because of the quality of the cars either side while 13% had parked over two spaces to save a space for someone else and 11% said they had put bins in the road to save space.

There were also 10% of drivers who said they had parked in a space that was too small so that other people could not move their cars.

Some 73% of drivers said they deliberately left space behind their car to manoeuvre.

The stress of parking caused some people to take drastic measures to avoid tackling difficult spaces, with 21% of motorists saying they left their vehicles further away from home to avoid having to parallel park, while 19% asked a friend or member of their family to park for them.

There were also 18% of drivers who said they gave up trying to park at home because they were being watched by somebody.