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Would you prang and run?


You've parked your car in a car park, done your shopping – and come back to find it scratched or scuffed! The victim of shoddy parking by another motorist.

man at damaged car

It's an annoying situation and one that's becoming more common.

A new study by Halfords has revealed that more than 10 million car owners have suffered scuffs or scratches in car parks over the past year.

Two thirds of these had to pay over £50 to fix bodywork.

What the law says

If a parking prang occurs, then the law is quite clear about what should happen.

It states that if an accident takes place that involves damage or personal injury then the driver is required to stop at the scene of the accident and make themselves available to anyone who might need their details and insurance policy number.

Failure to do so is an offence under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

But not everyone complies with that.

‘They’d made up a random number’

"Years ago someone bumped my car in a car park," says Debbie, 50, a company director from Manchester.

"They must have been seen because they wrote a telephone number and slipped it under the wiper.

"I was pleased but my partner said it was a scam. We argued about it. I rang the number and got a confused elderly lady on the line who clearly didn't have a clue what I was on about.

"My partner was proved right. They'd just made up a random number."

‘I was advised to drive off, so I did’

And Philippa, 29, an accountant from Lincoln breaks a huge taboo and confesses to having done a "prang and run" herself.

"We were on a team day out and I was giving a lift to four of my colleagues.

"I was reversing out of a tight space in a multi-storey car park and we were laughing and discussing the upcoming day's events when I heard a loud bang.

"I realised I'd hit a car and got out to take a look. My car had a scratch on it but the other car was fine.

"The others advised me to drive off so I did, but for the rest of the week I felt very worried and guilty.

"Lesson learned – I now pay full attention when reversing, especially when there are other people in the car."

But Philippa certainly isn't the only person to have done that.

A nation of prang and runners

note on car

A survey by revealed that we are a nation of "prang and runners" and that one out of five confess to not having left insurance details after scratching another car.

The most common reason given was embarrassment (31 per cent) closely followed by the financial implications of paying or rising insurance costs (30 per cent).

And what are the implications of a car parking prang on your car insurance?

"If you've scratched or caused car parking damage you should always tell your insurer, regardless of whether anyone decides to claim," says Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at

"If you're the one that suffers the damage and the claim is covered by the other party's insurance then it will be classified as a no-fault claim.

"However, in the circumstance where there's a prang and run and there is no third party from whom to reclaim the cost, then unfortunately these will be classed as fault accidents."

‘Being an honest person I wrote a note’

But to end on a happier note, here's a heart-warming story from Isabel, 42, a writer from London.

"I scratched someone's Ferrari on an Islington street and, being an honest person, wrote a note with my phone number and put it under the windscreen.

"This was despite a crew of builders opposite shouting at me to drive off.

"I got a call from the owner who said not to worry, he'd pay for it because I'd restored his faith in human nature."


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