Fighting In The Car Park Is All The Rage

Parking rage is a phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Borne of the frustrations with ever increasing vehicle numbers, vehicle size in the form of 4×4’s and dwindling car park spaces. Add into that heady mix a seasonal swell of traffic for a holiday like Christmas, a flurry of snow or some torrential rain and you have all the ingredients for the perfect storm of parking space aggression.

Eighty per cent of motorists admit that they see red when there is competition for space. This can be their own space in front of their house or a public parking space. Men in particular are often keen to escalate the confrontation. The fight for spaces has become territorial, an extension of the disputes neighbours have over trees, hedges and boundary incursions.  Certainly in terms of residential parking the requirement for a parking space is not needed at the time of the altercation. It very often turns out to be a matter of pride akin to leaving a towel on a poolside sunbed.

Photo Credits:

Seventy per cent of drivers also use emotive language when describing a conflict in a car park. The other driver “stole” “their” space. Drivers that return to their vehicles can display behavioural characteristics which say “This is my space and I’ll leave when I’m good and ready”. It has been recorded that drivers take longer to leave a space when returning to their car than it took them to arrive and park up. It could be argued that this is because they have shopping and children to strap into the car but this is not the case. There is very much a subconscious element at work that says this is my territory.

Another flashpoint is bad parking and damage to other vehicles. Vehicles have grown larger over the past 30 years and as 4×4’s and MPV’s have become more ubiquitous they have encroached upon other vehicles due in part to the fact that the spaces themselves have not grown in step with automotive growth. Honesty is a scarce resource amongst close to 30% of drivers. If a driver feels the damage is slight and nobody saw them, they will leave the scene without leaving their contact details.

The psychology of any kind of rage whether in a car park, out on the road or at home is the same. It is a loss of control that stems from frustration and anger. It quickly escalates beyond reason and in a society that promotes individuality and a sense of entitlement it soon manifests itself as stubborn, uncompromising aggression. Acknowledgment of these attributes is an important step in steering away from such altercations. Being self aware is essential if control of the situation is to be maintained. If not the consequences can turn out to be deadly. What may start out as a verbal rant at another driver can escalate stress levels to such a point that people can and do have heart attacks. In other cases drivers have used their vehicles to either run over their opponent or ram their car out of the way.

Jonathan Fox writes guest articles for and covers topics on Car Park Management.

Speak Your Mind


Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free