In our increasingly busy cities, anxiety can manifest itself in all areas of life. Although parking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when listing off the top stressors in life, it’s surprisingly common in daily routines. Parking anxiety can manifest when heading to the office during rush hour, going to a Saturday evening gig or even just visiting a shopping centre.
What are the symptoms of parking anxiety?
Even if you’re a competent, experienced driver, you’re not immune to feeling overwhelmed behind the wheel. The symptoms caused by anticipating a situation where you A) won’t find a parking space or B) won’t be able to park when you do find one, vary from person to person. They can include:
- sweaty palms
- short breaths or difficulty breathing
- a sense of claustrophobia
You are essentially starting to feel the fight-or-flight response with adrenaline and cortisol pumping through your body, but you are stuck in the enclosed space of a car with the looming task of finding a parking space. This means your body’s desire to run (all that adrenaline is getting your muscles primed to flee or fight) is not being fulfilled and so the sensations cause psychological distress. This reaction may sound extreme to someone who has never experienced it, but panic can appear in many forms. People even actively seek help for this issue to try to ease their stress through online forums such as Reddit’s entire r/DrivingAnxiety community.
Fear of parking overtakes motorway driving
It was uncovered that in the past decade, 39% of drivers felt scared, nervous and uneasy behind the wheel in general, with parking anxiety being closely related to driving anxiety (also known as vehophobia). That’s a pretty high percentage and acts as solid evidence that if driving in general makes you nervous, you’re not alone.
However, the skill that most people felt they lacked most confidence in was parking with 27% of respondents saying they had a fear of parking. This was closely followed by motorway driving at 21%.
You can get anxious even in familiar surroundings
And it’s not just finding a parking space when you’re out and about that gives people sweaty palms. 1 in 10 people said there had been times they’d decided not to use their car out of fear they wouldn’t find another available space on their return. 19% said they “always worry” about being able to park as they get closer to home. It seems overcrowding in London and lack of residential parking means a whopping 36% of the capital’s drivers said they get anxious about parking. Almost a quarter said they postponed or abandoned journeys altogether because they panicked that they wouldn’t find an available space near where they live on returning.
It doesn’t have to be that stressful…
Modern solutions are being developed to help drivers manage their in-car anxiety; built-in sensors alert you when you’re too close to another car or barrier, you can get real-time traffic updates to see how busy an area will be and you can even book your parking space ahead of time to remove any of the guesswork when you arrive.
Reserving a space in advance also means you get to choose what kind of parking space you want: not a fan of multi-storeys? No problem. Parallel parking sends you into a panic? We can help with that. Need a reliable space near home or work? We got you.
If you often find yourself circling the same area desperately trying to find a space, or panic-Googling last minute “Parking near me”, JustPark could be your new favourite app. We have the largest network of parking spaces across 45,000+ locations in the UK, so you can breathe a little easier and set off with confidence.