RAA urges pre-Christmas caution in car parks as crash claims climb

20 December, 2021

Festive season is seeing a spike in car park bingles as shoppers rush to buy last minute presents and take advantage of seasonal sales, according to RAA Insurance data.

The number of claims for car park crashes during December has jumped 35 per cent in the past five years, RAA Insurance claims figures show.

And the average damage bill for these collisions has also risen in the same period from $2512 to $3377 – or 34 per cent – as more car bumpers are fitted with technology such as sensors and cameras.

RAA claims manager Hayley Cain said the collision increases could be due to busier lifestyles, with many people rushing around at the last minute to do their Christmas shopping.

“And more recently we have seen a fall in public transport patronage due to the pandemic, which likely means more people are driving to shopping centres,’’ she said.

“Our records show more than half of all damage to stationary vehicles occurred in car parks.

“And the majority of claims involve collisions in large shopping centres such as Marion and Tea Tree Plaza, followed by the large Coles, Woolworths and Foodland supermarket car parks.’’

Ms Cain said reversing was the riskiest car park manoeuvre, with more than 30 per cent of accidents involving one or both motorists reversing.

“If you are reversing and hit a vehicle you are 100 per cent liable for your insurance claim,” she said.

“Inattention and impatience, resulting in motorists misjudging distances, parking haphazardly or failing to make sure the way is clear, are key contributors to these collisions.

“So we urge all drivers to take extra time to park safely, even if it means walking another 60 seconds to the shops.

“Try to stay away from skinny parks, large pillars or walls that block visibility.

“And if an incident occurs, gather as much information as possible to assist your insurer in processing the claim as quickly as possible.’’