Spate of carpark collisions in silly season

Research shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a sharp increase in the number of parking mishaps in the month of December.

It might be the silly season, but insurers are warning drivers not to be silly in car parks.

State Insurance found parking collisions make up 16 percent of accidents each year, with a 15 percent jump in December.

"I think it's all about busyness. If you're anything like me, I leave my shopping to the last minute and I think it's about people rushing, car parks are a lot fuller, people get a bit impatient," says Alex Geale, State Insurance.

Late night shopping seems to play a part too - with Thursday the most common day for parking prangs.

And drivers are more likely to cause damage inside car parks than on the street.

"When you're in a car park you've got cars coming in lots of directions starting and stopping, cars reversing out of seemingly nowhere, so the opportunity for a bump is just that much higher," says Ms Geale.

While State couldn't put a figure on car parking accidents, in the UK British insurers are forking out more than a billion pounds a year, with parking prangs accounting for a third of all accident claims.

Experts there say that's because the country's car park sizes haven't been modified for newer, larger vehicles like SUVs.

"In the UK, the government recommends street parking spaces should be about 4.8m long, while here, Auckland Transport sets the standard at around 6m, making it much easier for larger vehicles," says Ms Geale.

But inside carparks it's a different story altogether - as many with larger vehicles will probably agree, tight spaces and narrow ramps can make things a little niggly.

However, State reckons it's not the size of vehicles causing problems, but the sheer volume of them.

"Whether that's a little mini or an SUV, there's still that increased opportunity of a little bump," says Ms Geale.

So regardless of what you're driving or where you're going, always remember to look before you pull out.