Press Office

Christmas Eve’s Eve worst day for car park collisions PLUS December parking fines surge

Car park chaos: Double car park warning ahead of pre-Christmas shopping rush

Christmas shopping in the boot of a car
  • 10 years’ worth of Admiral Car Insurance data reveals accidents in car parks are 46% more likely on 23rd December than average.
  • Pre-Christmas shopping rush: Data reveals 23rd, 22nd, 21st and 20th December are among the worst days of the year for a car park prang, while Christmas day sees prangs plummet.
  • Festive fines: Council car park FOI data reveals last December saw the number of fines increase by 17%.
  • Last year saw drivers charged a whopping £1.8m more for car park fines in 2022 than 20213.

As Brits scramble to get their Christmas shopping done, Admiral Car Insurance is issuing a DOUBLE car park warning to encourage people to park safely and legally during the festive season and avoid prangs and fines.

Ten years’ worth of Admiral Car Insurance claims data reveals that Christmas Eve’s Eve (23rd December) is the worst day for accidents in car parks – 46% more likely than the average. In fact, the pre-Christmas rush is the prime time for car park collisions with the 22nd, 21st and 20th of December all featuring in the top 10 dates. However, accidents drop off a cliff on Christmas Day as the shopping rush comes to an abrupt halt.

But parking prangs just before Christmas are only half the danger for shoppers during the festive rush as the risk of car park fines is on the rise for those who flout the rules. New FOI data from UK councils reveals that the number of fines issued at council-owned car parks was 17% higher than the year before, suggesting careless parkers could be putting themselves at risk of a ticket this year. Last year, 7,296 fines were issued in December, which amounts to 235 per day.

The new data reveals that fines in council car parks have been going up in recent years, with a 27% increase in fines issued in 2022 as a whole compared to 20215, while drivers were charged a whopping £1.8 million more in 2022 than in 2021 (29%).

As the data suggests parking fines are on the rise this year, it is more important than ever that drivers park correctly and follow the rules of the car park they are using to avoid getting a ticket.

Clare Egan, Head of Motor Product at Admiral Insurance says: 

“Christmas shopping can be stressful, and our research suggests that car parks in particular present their own problems. Four of the ten days of the year we see the most car park collisions are in the week before Christmas, so it’s important to try and remain calm if you’re using car parks in the run up to Christmas.

”More drivers trying to find a space, and the pressure to finish your Christmas shopping, can lead to tension and panic. Not only can that result in an unwanted car park bump, it can also lead motorists to potentially park illegally or inconsiderately when looking for a spot.

“Not only can poor parking be dangerous, it can set you back an average of between £80 and £130 if you receive a parking fine; money that could be better used towards your Christmas budget.

“If you are going Christmas shopping in the coming weeks, park legally and considerately and make sure your ticket or free parking time limit doesn’t run out. Motorists can check out our advice for avoiding fines in the first place and the rules for appealing any tickets that have been unfairly issued.”

As parking fines range from £80-£130 per fine, Brits getting a parking ticket would have to pay the equivalent cost of over four turkeys this Christmas season due to bad parking.

Research commissioned by Admiral Car Insurance revealed that the main reason for receiving a fine in a car park was due to overstaying the time stated on their ticket (29%). However, one in five (19%) blame unclear signage and not realising a ticket was required (17%).

From a regional perspective, drivers parking in car parks in some council areas are more likely to be fined for flouting the rules than in others and should proceed with extra caution this December. In 2022/2023, the London Borough of Havering issued the highest number of parking fines, issuing more than 21,000 fines. South of the River Thames, two towns in Kent are also positioned in the top five regions of high parking fines: Royal Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone.