A study has found a fifth of parking spaces in the UK are wasted, and calculated that thousands more cars could be parked if this was rectified.

Experts looked at more than 120 roads with curbside parking bays and found that there was considerable wasted space. A parking area that appeared full could in fact have accommodated more cars if people had parked their vehicles properly and been more considerate.

According to Direct Line, if drivers used the latest in-car park assist technology more often, it would increase space availability by 17 per cent.

Data also released by the insurance company shows that 25 million drivers have encountered parking issues within the past year.

Head of automotive technology at Direct Line Nick Reid said: “Parking is one of the most stressful aspects of driving and even seasoned motorists can struggle with parallel parking.

“The expansion of new parking technologies, such as Park Assist, should not only reassure stressed motorists but also vitally help ease parking congestion without the need for councils to invest in extra parking spaces.”

“It should also dramatically reduce the number of incidents where a vehicle is damaged by another motorist and put a stop to bump parking. Additionally, increasing the available space to park within existing bays on our streets will help reduce driver stress.”

Research also found that 73 per cent of drivers asked admitted to deliberately leaving space behind their car to manoeuvre, and 38 per cent said they left space around their car to stop other people from parking near them.

One of the most surprising statistics is that 21 per cent of motorists will drive away from their home to park in a bay parking space so as to avoid parallel parking.