A third of motorists avoid venturing into town centres with their cars due to confusing parking restrictions, new research by car insurance provider Churchill has found.
The study revealed that 22 per cent of drivers had either received a fine or had their cars clamped or towed away in the last two years as a result of falling foul of unclear parking rules.
With penalties ranging from a £60 parking fine to hundreds in impound fees, drivers are avoiding town centres altogether, with most preferring to shop at out of town facilities that provide ample free parking.
“The best advice is to be as vigilant for signs as possible and never assume if you’re unsure."
The news isn’t likely to impress beleaguered high street retailers, who have struggled in recent years in the face of retail parks and online shopping. Recent statistics revealed that footfall in town centre shopping areas has dropped by a per cent in the last year.
It isn’t just in towns that motorists are getting frustrated with unclear parking regulations; more than a quarter of drivers surveyed by Churchill said that areas near their homes have multiple parking restrictions in force on the same street, while a third say that signage is ambiguous as to which area it refers to.
The situation is so dire that one in ten drivers even avoid parking in their own residential area as the parking restrictions are too vague.
Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: “It’s the driver’s responsibility to check which parking restrictions are in operation in a particular area.
“However, when there are multiple restrictions in operation on a single street, it can result in motorists being confused and unintentionally parking illegally, incurring fines that could have been avoided.
“The best advice is to be as vigilant for signs as possible and never assume if you’re unsure. If drivers are still unsure, they should avoid parking in the area and report the sign to the local council.
“If you do receive a ticket or penalty you think is unfair, take photographs of where your car is parked and of the parking signs in the vicinity to help build your case for appeal.”
Unsurprisingly, with its highly restrictive parking rules and high proportion of CCTV enforcement, it is London that most drivers avoid, with 61 per cent of those who have driven there getting penalised for parking in the last two years.
Have you been caught out by ambiguous parking restrictions? Have your say below.