Christmas shoppers car-parking rage at its worst.
Christmas shoppers car-parking rage at its worst. David Nielsen

The season for stealing car parks

IN THIS time when Christmas cheer supposedly fills the air, the car parks of shopping centres can become hideous battle grounds.

Motorists are being asked to be courteous to other drivers and keep their cool behind the wheel as car park rage becomes more common in the quest for a coveted space.

Research by Queensland's major car insurers has confirmed our Christmas spirit often goes out the window when it comes to finding a parking space.

RACQ Insurance spokesman Mike Sopinski said an astonishing number of motorists were stooping to inconsiderate and occasionally illegal behaviour in their attempts to snap up a shopping centre car park.

The most common reported offence is that of car park stealing, with 70% of motorists reporting that another person muscled in on their territory while they were waiting to pull in to a spot.

Mr Sopinski said 6% reported it happened to them more than half the times they go shopping.

"Motorists need to show more car park courtesy and improve everyone's holiday shopping experience," he said.

A less common but perhaps more serious car park crime is to cause damage to a parked car and not leave your details.

RACQ data shows damage to parked cars accounts for 15% of all insurance claims, with the average repair job costing $1655.

The insurer's research revealed 29% of motorists had their car damaged while parked in the last 12 months and the offender did not leave a note.

"That's a pretty malicious thing to do," Mr Sopinski said.

Suncorp's research backed up RACQ's findings, with 37% of Queensland motorists reporting their car had been damaged and only 11% being left a note.

Suncorp spokeswoman Megan Tudehope said the research showed there was lots of room for us all to let in a little more of the Christmas spirit.

"What is even more disappointing is that 14% of Queensland drivers admit they would think twice about leaving their details if no one saw them," Ms Tudehope said.

Younger drivers are less likely to leave their details than older drivers with a quarter of the 18-24 year old drivers in Queensland taking a second thought before leaving their details compared with 14% of the 25-49 group and the 11% of those over 50.

"It's unclear as to whether or not younger drivers are simply more honest about their unwillingness to leave their details or if they're less likely to take responsibility," Ms Tudehope said.

Other anti-social car park behaviour included 79% of Queensland motorists reporting seeing someone use a disabled parking spot without a permit while 11% thought it was OK to use parents' spaces even if they did not have a child.

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