Keep Christmas shopping crash-free
RACV Insurance claims data has found that December is the worst month for crashes as the preChristmas shopping frenzy turns car parks into virtual ‘ battle zones’.
In the past financial year, there were almost 15 000 car parking claims lodged by RACV insurance members, about 41 bingles per day, with an average repair bill of $ 1650.
The figures show that nearly one in ten accidents in car parks were in December, followed by March with nine per cent and January 8.7 per cent, while the lowest number of incidents was in August with 7.6 per cent.
RACV insurance general manager Paul Northey said shoppers need to be patient when driving and parking in shopping areas and to take extra care at busy times.
“These centres are attracting more and more time-poor people who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the volume of traffic, especially at peak sales times such as Christmas,” he said.
“If driving, make sure you allow additional time to find a park, and pay extra attention to cars and pedestrians who may distract or surprise you as you are driving, resulting in an accident.”
Mr Northey said typical parking collisions included hitting other vehicles, trolleys, railings, walls and poles with about 43 per cent occurring while reversing and 15 per cent where no other vehicle was involved.
He said following the road rules in shopping precincts was particularly important in avoiding a parking bingle.
“Disobeying traffic signals and signs, including driving the wrong way up a one way aisle and illegal parking are two common ways of creating unnecessary driving hazards,” he said.
RACV Insurance recommends that RACV members and all drivers should: • Be alert at all times and watch out for other drivers who may disobey traffic signals, such as one-way signs, or who park incorrectly. • Drive slowly and watch for pedestrians, especially young children excited by Christmas shopping who may behave unpredictably. • Be careful when reversing and don’t just rely on your mirrors – look over your shoulder. • Be aware of your surrounds, and if feasible, consider new technology such as cameras and reversing sensors. • Do your bit to keep the car park free of obstacles and hazards by returning shopping trolleys to designated areas. If you are involved in a collision and hit another parked vehicle when the owner is not present, report it to the nearest police station as soon as possible. Also leave a note for the other driver as a courtesy.