Monday 14 October 2019

Parking: Why are so many afraid of it?

Secret fear: car parking
Secret fear: car parking
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

We are not really, nor readily, prepared to admit it, but I believe most of us carry a secret, subconscious, fear of parking.

Sometimes I do. If I'm meeting with, or have to call on, someone in Dublin especially (but increasingly in larger provincial towns), my pre-occupation is: Will there be a sufficient amount of parking space nearby?

I don't worry nearly as much if I have a small car. But a big SUV or saloon? They certainly bring their challenges.

And then there is parking in itself. Take Lower Leeson St, Dublin. Say you have a meeting in a nearby hotel or cafe and you spot an on-street slot. It looks tight, but manageable, if you could take your time (which you should anyway).

But you have a flow of cars coming behind you who resent having to wait. And if you get the angle wrong by a small amount, you can end up in a right mess. I am considered (honestly) to be quite good at it, but I've been at the panic stations, too.

I find provincial towns increasingly challenging. I'm from the country (and proud of it), so don't think I'm forgetting my roots but, Lord God, how and where some people leave their cars on the side of streets is mind-blowing.

'Abandoned' is a mild word and testament, I think, of a real lack of ability and a sense of relief to get somewhere to leave the car.

Now comes news in a recent survey which, I think, backs up my assertions that we fear having much to do with parking.

Despite some of the most sophisticated aids available - sensors, rear/front cameras etc - we still dread having to manoeuvre.

Parking in a tight space is viewed as most difficult, while doing so parallel comes next, the study found. Apparently as many as one-in-seven get 'nervous'. Judging from what I see in shopping-centre car parks, the percentage is much higher.

The fear is highlighted by research from the YourParkingSpace.co.uk portal. One of the reasons given is obvious: cars have grown - spaces have not.

You won't be surprised to learn the study found that negotiating slots in multi-storey car parks, was dreaded, too. How I detest that upward spiral of rim-hungry concrete edges and bumper-denting pillars.

The study further found that parking next to an expensive vehicle made many drivers nervous.

The authors also say: "And surprisingly, modern technology, designed to take the stress out of driving, such as rear parking cameras and sensors, actually did the exact opposite."

Should there be more emphasis on parking in the car test? What do you think?

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