Have you ever bumped or scraped your car at a drive-thru or hit a bollard parking your car at a car park or multi-storey? Well, if the answer’s yes then you’re not alone as we conducted a survey to find out just how often people have accidents at these sorts of places and what the ‘true’ cost of taking a drive-thru or parking your car really is.
In this survey, All Car Leasing asked 1,000 people from all over the UK about their experiences with parking and using drive-thrus, to find out what are the most common locations, genders, age groups and even the use of parking sensors. The results may surprise you!
Going for a McDonald’s drive-thru could cost you £536!
We asked 1,000 drivers if they’ve ever bumped their car going through a drive-thru with a staggering 30% admitting that they had! We also asked those who had bumped their car, which food chain it happened at, and it’s no surprise that it was McDonald’s at the top of the list with 22% of responders saying they’d bumped their car there followed by KFC at 10% and Subway at 7%.
Scraping your bumper may seem trivial but the cost of repairing may surprise you. We spoke to Nigel Bennett, Head Mechanic in Residence over at ClickMechanic who said “Unfortunately, a bumper isn't quite a straightforward repair job as it heavily depends on the extent of the damage. If only a couple screws have come loose then it could be free, if the whole bumper needs replacing then you are looking at hundreds of pounds for a new one.”
The danger zones of the drive-thrus are typically around the bends and near the collection window stretches, with some more modern drive-thrus, there may even be more than one which can merge which adds another potential obstacle.
The damage on your bumper or bodywork can vary wildly and can range from a minor scuff which can be T-cutted or you could have ended up scraping the lacquer and paint off in a large area which can leave deep scratches which will need both filling in and painted. Repairing bodywork can be difficult and impossible without a specialist in most cases – this is especially true of cars that have metallic or pearlescent paint.
In some cases, if the damage is severe enough you may have to replace the whole bumper which can lead the overall bill to be between £300 and £700 according to Carcos.co.uk. This means that a journey which would have cost you around £5 for a Big Mac Meal ends up costing you over £500!
Drive-thrus aren’t the only places drivers detest as our survey also showed that multi-storey car parks and private car parks such as Asda and Tesco have caused collisions with other cars and stationary objects such as bollards and trolleys – 46% of respondents said that at some point they have bumped their cars at one of these places. Because of the cost of repairs and how common an accident is 20% of people are genuinely afraid of using multi-storey car parks, 12% are afraid of entering a drive-thru and 9% are afraid of supermarket car parks.
So, should we just avoid these places altogether and just walk everywhere?
So, is there a problem with UK motorists and drive-thrus? Do we need to add drive-thru driving as a new manoeuvre alongside the parallel park and the reverse park? We spoke to Charlotte Markham about this, who is the owner of Leap Driving School in Yorkshire, she said: “It’s always best to be taught in a number of different scenarios and on a variety of different roads. It can be quite difficult to master a turn in a car park or drive-thru.
A driver would need to have mastered the ability to start and stop under full control before attempting a drive-thru. This, in particular, is the hardest thing to adapt when changing cars.
A pupil could be competent with stop-start control in their instructor's car but then struggle in their own car or a lease car.
I think it’s a good thing to take pupils into a drive-thru, making them learn how to move slowly whilst considering their order or searching for change [money] is a new skill to master once in their own car and at the same time make sure they feel comfortable at mastering the stop-start control in their own car."
Looking at the survey results it’s clear that drivers using drive-thrus, multi-storey car parks and supermarket car parks are at a high risk of some sort of an accident, but what can we do to mitigate the risks and hopefully avoid them all together? We noticed that over half of those surveyed did not have access to parking sensors which can help a lot with those struggling with their bearings and judgement of distances.
We’re also aware that vehicles, in general, are getting bigger and bigger but car park spaces and drive-thru lanes aren’t, so perhaps nervous drivers or repeat offenders should consider downsizing (imagine the money you’d save!).
Internally, we’ve also thought about the responsibility of drive-thru and car park operators and what changes they could make to make things easier and safer – could they paint bollards in bright colours? Could they widen the lanes of drive-thrus? After all, if fewer people were afraid to use these services then surely their profits would increase?
Interestingly, gender was not an indicator of clear culprits are with a fairly even split across the board, but it was the men who came out as the worst offenders. It’s clear that females are the most cautious when it comes to using drive-thrus, with 28% of women saying they used to be afraid or they are still afraid of using drive-thrus because of the potential damage they could cause. Perhaps men are the most likely to bump their cars because the women are too afraid to go to a drive-thru. Only 20% of males said they used to be afraid or still were afraid of getting their fast food fix via the drive-in.
When we started looking at the results from when we asked respondents what age group they belonged in, it became pretty clear who the guilty parties are. Of those aged 18-24 a staggering 55% said that they had bumped their car in a drive-thru at some point compared with 49% of 25-34-year-olds, 33% of 35-44-year-olds, 19% of 45-54-year-olds, 13% of 55-64-year-olds and finally only 7% of those aged 65 plus said they’d bumped their car in a drive-thru.
We also asked our respondents where they were from and this shed some light on where the worst offenders came from. At the top of the list came Sheffield with 40% of drivers reporting they had bumped their car in a drive-thru in the past followed by London, Manchester and Belfast. The best-behaved cities in a drive-thru were Norwich and Cardiff.
Are you from any of these cities and noticed anything in particular about the drive-thrus in your area?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this study, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Have you had a bad experience of using a drive-thru, multi-storey or supermarket car park? Please let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you never know your story may be featured.