Parallel parking has been revealed as the nation’s trickiest driving manoeuvre, according to a study.
The slow, slight and precise movement, and the two words every learner driver dreads to hear, emerged top in a poll of 2,000 UK motorists.
And when searching for a spot, drivers are happy to drive almost a hundred metres further than necessary to find an easier place, if the first space looks a bit tight for a parallel park.
Reversing into a parking bay and reversing around a corner followed as the next most difficult manoeuvres to navigate.
David Carter for Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research via OnePoll.com, said: “Parallel parking has been a thorn in drivers’ sides since the invention of the motor car.
“We’ve all felt the pressure of getting into a tight parking space on a busy street when there are others watching.
“So it’s no surprise that twice as many people said they dread parallel parking as the next most difficult manoeuvre.”
Other driving manoeuvres that cause consternation include pulling up on the right side of the road, pulling forward into a parking bay or simply reversing in a straight line.
Just under a third of the population have failed a driving test due to mucking up their manoeuvres, with almost one in 10 suffering multiple times.
And 47 per cent of drivers have attempted a parallel park that went so disastrously wrong they simply gave up and drove away halfway through the attempt.
One in four drivers struggling to reverse into a space have humiliatingly exited the vehicle and let someone else finish the procedure for them.
Fifteen per cent of respondents claim a parallel park leaves them feeling anxious, and one in 10 believe a difficult manoeuvre makes them stressed or nervous.
Although a quarter of men say they feel confident when tackling a tricky manoeuvre – more than double the amount of women who said the same thing.
Four in 10 drivers in the UK also think that manoeuvres are the hardest part of driving, beating out road awareness and knowing what all the signs mean.
As a result, top of the wish-list for drivers hoping to improve their manoeuvring skills would be a rear-facing camera on the car to show the distance to other vehicles.
A quarter of drivers would love to always have someone on standby to get out and help guide them into a tight spot.
And a fifth think they simply need to be braver and attempt more difficult manoeuvres – in the hope that practice will make perfect.
David Carter said: “The cliché of women being less confident drivers than men seems to have been borne out by this study, presuming that men answered honestly.
“Our results found this was particularly true when it comes to manoeuvres, with 56 per cent of women saying they struggled with them more than anything else, compared to 31 per cent of men.
“But of course, accidents can happen to anyone at any time, while a low speed bump when parking might not cause serious harm, accidents at roundabouts or when reversing around corners can be more dangerous”.
THE TOP 10 TRICKIEST DRIVING MANOEUVRES
- Parallel park
- Reverse into a parking bay
- Reversing around a corner
- Turn-in-the-road/three point turn
- Driving forward into a parking bay
- Reversing in a straight line
- Parking close to the curb
- Navigating a roundabout
- Emergency stop
- Pulling up on the right of the road