There are some things in life that cannot possibly end well. An affair with Katie Price, learning the ukelele, the M25, Inspector Morse, an out-of-town weekend party with a dozen mixed-sex friends in a remote deserted woodland shack etc. etc.

To this list we must must now add – according to disturbing new research findings from the Alley Antz Center for Technology – or Ant Zentrum für Technicsvorsprüngenwissenshcaftswerk (AZT) as it is known locally in Munich – reversing in a motor vehicle.

Having pored over data relating to well over 3,000 autoprangs, AZT have discovered that more than 4 out of 10 liability claims result from a reverse parking incident involving one stationary vehicle being struck by another (presumably non-stationary) vehicle.

If you think that’s scary, you may wish to skip the remainder of this paragraph in which it is our solemn duty to advise you that fully one in ten such autoprangs involves two vehicles reversing at the same time – resulting in at least one of them hitting the other with an effective velocity potentially twice that experienced in regular reverse parking accidents.

The average cost of these incidents (€1,700 for the liability bit and €2,100 for physical damage), reflects the limited potential for plausible whiplash claims in such scenarios (just 4% result in bodily injury claims according to AZT). However, it is still possible to hurt people badly by reversing into them, with old folks being the main target, along, to a lesser extent with cyclists.

Disturbingly, the frequency of reverse parking accidents has increased by more than 30% over the past decade, according to AZT. This is obviously partly because people can’t drive for toffee these days. Young whippersnappers don’t know one end of car from t’other. But its also, apparently, because cars are all a stupid shape now, with zero visibility to rear or side, and because parking warning systems convey a false sense of security.

Interestingly (to speak, let us stress, in comparative rather than absolute terms), most parking accidents happen, not when reversing into a space, but when reversing in an attempt to get out of that space again (i.e. after visiting the pub). Clearly nobody’s very good at this. Old people are especially rubbish, causing 30% more mayhem than normal people.

Diplomatically, AZT refrain from comparing male and female performance in the reverse action autoprang arena. Presumably they have the data, but, clearly, no such comparison could possibly end well.

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How one paragon of truthfulness reduced his motor insurance premium


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