Research by RAC Insurance shows that more than a third of drivers reported that they had experienced this at least once, while 31% say they have had it happen on more than one occasion.
Additionally, the number one place for a motorist to have their car damaged is a supermarket car park – with half (48%) saying this is where their car picked up a scratch or dent.
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Public car parks such as those in town centres, at leisure centres and at libraries were also named and shamed by 16% of drivers as places that vehicles were likely to be damaged.
Shopping centre car parks were blamed by 11%, while damage is less likely to happen in work car parks and privately operated car parks according to the survey, as they were only mentioned by 8% and 4% of respondents respectively.
Unfortunately, the chances of someone owning up to hitting another person’s car is rare. Only 9% of motorists saying they found a note on their car from the person responsible.
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “It’s frightening to think that so many motorists suffer damage to their vehicles in car parks and that the people responsible hardly ever leave a note.
“We all use car parks every day so the chances of your car picking up a dent or scratch are pretty high, especially as vehicles have got wider over the years while parking spaces generally haven’t.”
He advised motorists to pay careful attention to where and how they park.
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Mr Godfrey said: “Always try to leave a good gap either side so you limit the chances of someone accidentally opening their car door onto your vehicle’s bodywork or scratching it as they walk past. If you are worried the gap is too small it might be best to take a couple of extra minutes and try to find a wider space.”
RAC also advises motorists to park away from trolley parks in supermarkets car parks and to park next to smarter looking cars – they tend to have more careful owners.
The research comes as a road safety charity is asking motorists to pledge to follow the rules of the road during Road Safety Week, as part of a campaign to tackle dangerous driver behaviour.
Charity Brake will launch the campaign on Monday November 21 and is urging all road users to make the Brake Pledge to help stop the five deaths and 62 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads.