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Bumps and grinds - the trials of shopping mall parking


I RECENTLY walked out of a rather busy mall to find the driver of the vehicle parked next to me staring at the side of his car with a concerned look on his face.

I approached him and asked whether he’d clipped my car while trying to reverse out of the parking bay. The answer was a vehement, “No!” I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly looked around my vehicle for any possible scratch marks, before driving away.

This incident has stayed with me. Why was he checking his side of the car and front bumper so profusely? Something must’ve happened; maybe he thought I’d bumped him. Because, let’s be honest, the parking locations at malls and shopping centres are a shambles. The bays have shrunk to pint-size, so that even the smallest of hatches will battle to manoeuvre into a parking spot. I can only imagine how those SUVs struggle along!

I’ve done some research and found a study conducted by, in the UK, which highlighted that 30 percent of people interviewed, would consider leaving the scene of an accident if they’d caused minor damage. Disturbingly, four percent said they’d leave, even if they caused extensive damage to another vehicle.

It’s rather disheartening to think you may have to worry about your car continuously, whether it’s in traffic, or parked at a shopping centre. That said, the research showed that honesty among drivers varies dramatically between ages, locations and income groups.

In fact, younger drivers (aged 25-34) are more likely to try and make a getaway from an accidental bump, while an impressive 63 percent of the elderly age group from 65 up, said they’d wait for the owner of the vehicle to return or leave their contact details. According to the research, this is the highest level of reported honesty of any group.

Sadly, it seems as though money and wealth have little influence over honesty as those who fall in the lower income brackets, as well as those in the higher income-earning brackets, would try and flee an accident scene without leaving any details. It was the middle income-earners who were most likely to be honest, and leave their contact details.

This research may have been conducted in the UK, but a similar trend will, almost certainly, rear its ugly head, locally. Car repairs can be costly, so why then leave your details if no one has witnessed the collision? It’s becoming easier to scrape another car while parking at a shopping mall, so would you really want to leave your details, after every bumper-bashing? It could end up being quite a costly affair.

And this, fellow motorists, is what’s wrong with South Africa. We take chances wherever and whenever possible; moral decay is on the rise and honest individuals are burdened with more than necessary.

The lack of insured vehicles on our roads (which I’ve written about extensively in the past), is a massive problem. People aren’t insured; they bump and scratch cars then try and make a getaway because they know, if they get caught, they’ll be responsible for the costly repairs.

Unfortunately, this hit-and-run scenario leaves a rather horrid taste for the victim who now needs to pay. Thankfully, it seems the older we get, the more mature we become as the older generation continues to instil in us - the right path is… honesty.

Autodealer would like to know whether you’ve been a victim of someone bumping into your car and not leaving any details. And, we’d also like to know whether you’d be an honest motorist, or whether you’d flee the scene, if you bumped into someone’s car. Email us at 

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