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Parking is part and parcel of driving, but there are can’t be many of us who can say we actually look forward to finding a spot in a crowded supermarket car park or tight underground car park. Even for the most confident driver, the potential for a nasty dunt or shunt – whether with a stationary obstacle (pillar, barrier, shopping trolley etc) or with another car – is a danger to be aware of.

Would you believe that around a whopping 20% of all car insurance claims are a result of car park prangs? It’s proof that it’s a scenario not to be taken lightly. So, knowing what to do if an accident does happen and where you stand as far as insurance liability is concerned is important.

That’s particularly the case as ‘doing a runner’ incidents in car parks are on the increase. That’s when a driver clips or hits another car in a car park and fails to leave their details or report the incident.

Sadly, it seems that more and more people think they can just get away with it. And many of those on the receiving end are reluctant to put in a claim and jeopardise their No Claims bonus. But imagine how the other driver feels when they return to their car and discover the damage.

More importantly, not reporting a collision with another car or leaving false information is technically illegal – if you’re caught on CCTV doing so (a very real possibility in a security-protected car park), you could be on the receiving end of criminal charges. It’s just not worth it. However, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the chance of a bash.

Reduce your speed

It seems obvious to reduce your speed when driving in a more confined space. Yet many drivers seem unaware of just how much you need to slow down. There are many hidden dangers – from rogue shopping trolleys to distracted shoppers or even children running around behind cars.

Indicate clearly

Don’t assume fellow drivers are telepathic in car parks. A common incident in car park bashes is rear ending if someone stops abruptly or reverses out of a space carelessly. Your indicator lights and reverse lights are all important (especially in dark or badly lit multi-storey or underground car parks).

Leave plenty of room

This one may be easier said than done in tight cramped car parks but no matter how desperate you are for a space, don’t try to squeeze into a difficult slot. Remember, another car’s opened door or stray wing mirror can do as much damage as a crash when you’re manoeuvring around.

Stay focused

In a car park you need your wits about you at all times. So a quiet calm in-car atmosphere is important. Turn the radio off and get the passengers to be quiet (even the kids!).

Stuart Collins is an Injury layer in Glasgow and has seen far too many Fatal Accident Compensation claims due to bad driving. Do not let it be you.