Car park prangs spike during silly season


'Tis the season for shopping centre car park battles, and new data from Suncorp Group's insurance brand AAMI warns it's when you're most likely to get a prang.


Car park prangs spike during silly season

New AAMI data has revealed December was once again the riskiest month for car park prangs, with around 40 per cent more car park crashes in December than the monthly average.

Analysis of almost 22,000 AAMI car park insurance claims across the country from 1 December 2020 to 30 November 2021 revealed the highest number of shopping centre car-park collisions occurred in December (2,554), followed closely by January (2,106).

#The research also found:

  • The Melbourne suburb of Chadstone, home to one of the country’s largest shopping centres, is Australia’s worst hotspot for car park collisions. 
  • Saturday is the worst day of the week for shopping centre car park collisions across the year. 
  • The afternoon between 12.00pm and 4.00pm is the worst time of day for crashes in shopping centre car parks. 
  • More than a third (40 per cent) of shopping centre car park collisions included accidental damage to an insured driver’s vehicle while parked and they were away from the vehicle, such as car door dings. 
  • Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of shopping centre car park collisions involved an insured driver hitting a stationary object such as a bollard, shopping trolley or pillar/wall. 
  • A quarter of shopping centre car park collisions occurred when at least one driver was reversing.
  • Around one in ten (11 per cent) of shopping centre car park collisions involved an insured driver hitting a parked car.

AAMI Head of Motor Claims in Victoria and Tasmania Matthew Pugliese said: “It’s the busiest time of the year for shopping centres, and trying to find that elusive car park can be a nightmare.

“For those sick of online shopping, or grabbing those last-minute gifts, be prepared to battle it out for a car park with other Christmas shoppers,“ warned Mr Pugliese.

“All year-round drivers expect to find a car space typically within 3-5 minutes. During the festive period when car parks are busy we find that once we pass the 5 minute mark we start to feel annoyed and impatient, and the longer it takes, the more frustrated we become; then we’re at heightened risk of a prang.

“Our message to drivers this silly season who find themselves doing laps of the shopping centre carpark is to stay calm and avoid letting your emotions and impatience get the better of you. If we don’t keep these things in check this can quickly escalate to driving erratically, which as we know is how accidents happen.” 

#Worst suburbs for car park collisions in each state



Shopping centres



Chadstone Shopping Centre



Westfield Chatswood



Sunshine Plaza



Northgate Shopping Centre



Westfield Belconnen



Midland Gate Shopping Centre



Westfield Tea Tree Plaza

#AAMI's top tips

  • Take your time when parking or reversing out of a car space.
  • Take particular care to watch out for children, particularly when reversing.
  • Watch out for stationary objects including pillars and trolleys.
  • Don’t let impatience get the better of you and make sure you keep a safe distance between you and the car in front or reversing.
  • Resist the urge to park quickly, particularly in shopping centre car parks where turning circles are a lot tighter than they once were.
  • Avoid peak-times for shopping to avoid the crowds and increase your chances of finding a car park quickly.

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