New research out today reveals that over a quarter of British motorists (26 per cent) have accidentally damaged a parked vehicle and then driven off without owning up to it.

Motoring on Female First

Motoring on Female First

14 per cent of those admitted that they fled because they did not want to deal with the hassle of exchanging details and 13 per cent took flight due to a sense of panic.

According to the study(2) by esure car insurance, 27 per cent of Brits have revealed that they would flee from the scene of an incident if they knew they were not being watched. Over a fifth (22 per cent) admitted that they have only owned up to scraping another car because someone else saw them do it.

Men have proven the most accident prone with 49 per cent confessing to having bumped or scraped a parked car compared to just 36 per cent of women. Men are also the more dishonest sex with a third (33 per cent) revealing that they have driven away after bumping into another vehicle; compared to just 18 per cent of women.

Almost a third of motorists (32 per cent) revealed that they would drive away if they had caused only minor scratches and scrapes to the paintwork or bumper of another car.

However, 71 per cent said they would feel too guilty to take flight if they had caused more serious dents or structural damage to a parked vehicle. Despite this, 6.2 million(3) motorists (18 per cent) have knocked-off someone’s wing mirror and sped off from the incident.

84 per cent of motorists have returned to find a scrape, dent or bump on their car proving that a great number of people have been on the receiving end of this type of dishonest driving.

However, 37 per cent of motorists have confessed that they would still drive away after scraping a parked car even though it has happened to their own vehicle in the past.

A further 18 per cent of motorists have driven off in a panic but then returned at a later time to admit to their mistake as they felt too guilty. However, almost a fifth (19 per cent) said they felt it was ok to drive off as it was only a minor scratch.

Top five types of accidental motoring damage:

1) Hitting a nearby vehicle when opening the car door (63 per cent)

2) Clipping the wing mirror of a parked car whilst driving past (42 per cent)

3) Scraping another car whilst trying to park (35 per cent)

4) Knocking the bumper of another car (33 per cent)

5) Bashing into another car whilst reversing (32 per cent)

Donna Dawson, Behavioural Psychologist, explains: "Many of us will have inadvertently damaged a parked car in our driving lifetime, and our first instinct - especially if we haven’t been caught - is to ‘flee’.

"This is basic human nature at play, and is an example of the ‘survival of the fittest’, as we think of ourselves first and the victim second, if at all.

"For some of us, getting away with something in a society where we feel constantly watched and put-upon bestows a temporary feeling of power; for others, wanting to cover for a friend or family member - it is protective urges that motivate us."

Further Stats:

- A sneaky 15 per cent have been caught out on a ‘bump and drive’ incident as they were spotted on CCTV cameras

- A further 13 per cent had not realised that a witness had taken down their registration number

- A third of motorists (33 per cent) have had a passenger of theirs damage a nearby vehicle when they opened the car door

- A fifth (21 per cent) of drivers have taken responsibility for a friend or family member when they have scraped another car

- 14 per cent have covered up for their teenager’s mistake when they have bumped into another vehicle in order to keep their insurance premium down

- Pedestrians are also to blame as 63 per cent have unintentionally scraped the paintwork of a car with their keys, clothing or bags

- 18 per cent have admitted to accidentally damaging a car and walking away from the incident without alerting the owner

- London has proven the most dishonest region with 69 per cent admitting to a ‘bump and drive’ incident

- Wales is the most trustworthy region with just 24 per cent driving away after scraping another car.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: "It seems that some motorists simply panic when they bump into another car and as a result speed off from the scene of the incident.

"However, we have to remind ourselves that even scratches to paintwork and other minor dents and scrapes can cause a lot of stress for the person on the receiving end.

"Motorists should remind themselves to take a moment and put themselves in the other person’s shoes when they have bumped into their vehicle.

"Consider the hassle, time and money that you are costing them and do the right thing by alerting them and leaving a note behind with your full contact details."

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