PRICEY parking prangs are easily avoidable just by slowing down and knowing the length and width of your car, says road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist.
Figures show repair costs have risen 40 per cent in the past five years, while according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders motorists spend an average £21 billion on vehicle maintenance, parts and repairs.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth says a large part of this could be avoided just by more careful parking.
"The cost of repairs to bumpers, doors and other bodywork or replacement parts has risen significantly, thanks to rising spare part costs and the requirement for expensive re-calibrations of car safety sensors," he said.
"Slow speed manoeuvring and ‘hit-while-parked' incidents remain amongst the most common collision types reported by drivers.
Although the repair costs are relatively modest compared with other, more serious knocks, there's inevitably a negative effect on insurance policies as well as the nuisance and down-time of needing a repair.
"If you're tempted to keep putting off the repair, then your car's resale value is likely to plummet," added Mr Worth.
"But there are ways of minimising the risk of damage and injury by taking things slowly and having a parking plan. This involves a few checks before you move, making best use of any parking aids and doing everything slowly.
"If necessary, don't be too proud to ask for an extra pair of eyes on your car as you're moving. After all, if it prevents a bump in the car park, then the cash stays in your pocket."
To help drivers avoid parking prangs, GEM has offered a selection of simple parking tips:
1. Carry out a check of all your mirrors every time you get in your vehicle.
2. Familiarise yourself with your car's length, height and width. Some car parks may have narrower parking spaces or lower ceilings than you're used to.
3. Don't rush. Plan your journey to allow time for parking, then make sure you choose somewhere suitable and safe.
4. Check around for low bollards and high kerbs which can disappear from sight as you park.
5. If you have parking aids, cameras and warning buzzers fitted, make sure you understand them and can make good use of them.
6. Make a plan when you're ready to drive away from the space. How close are you to other vehicles? Walls? Kerbs? How tight will your turn need to be? Don't be embarrassed to ask a passenger to be an extra pair of eyes to see you in and out safely.