Biggest driving embarrassments: Forgetting where one parked and driving over curbs

May 11, 2014 (Foster City, Calif.) – More than half of drivers have forgotten where they’ve parked, making it the No. 1 driving embarrassment.

Driving over curbs in parking lots, locking keys in the car and going the wrong way down one-way streets are also the most common gaffes, with women admitting to doing all of them more than men., one of the largest independent online auto insurance marketplaces, recently surveyed 2,000 drivers (half men and half women) and asked them about their awkward driving flubs. Respondents identified what they had done from a list of 17 driving embarrassments.

Here are the top answers, with results overall and broken down by gender:

  1. Forgot where they parked: 52 percent (men: 44 percent; women: 59 percent)
  2. Drove over a curb in a parking lot: 43 percent (men: 35 percent; women: 51 percent)
  3. Locked keys in the car: 37 percent (men: 34 percent; women: 41 percent)
  4. Gone the wrong way down a one-way street: 34 percent (men:  30 percent; women: 38 percent)
  5. Driven away with something on the roof, such as coffee or a purse: 31 percent (men: 28 percent; women: 34 percent)
  6. Tried to open a car door and realized it wasn’t your car: 29 percent (men: 24 percent; women: 34 percent)
  7. Couldn’t back out of a parking spot because other cars or objects were too close: 27 percent (men: 21 percent; women: 33 percent)
  8. Dropped your money or food at a drive-thru window:  26 percent (men: 23 percent; women: 28 percent)
  9. Accidentally started your car’s panic alarm and couldn’t turn it off quickly: 22 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 26 percent)
  10. Lost toll ticket at the payment booth: 18 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 17 percent)
  11. Couldn’t get out of a round-about and kept driving in circles: 13 percent (men: 12 percent; women: 13 percent).
  12. Gotten pulled over and didn’t have license, registration and/or insurance: 11 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 11 percent).
  13. Driven away from a gas pump with the nozzle still in your tank:  11 percent (men: 14 percent; women: 7 percent).
  14. Not able to work key remote to get into your car: 9 percent (men: 10 percent; women: 8 percent).
  15. Almost hit a person: 9 percent (men: 8 percent; women: 9 percent).
  16. Forgot a passenger and had to go back: 8 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 6 percent).
  17. Gotten in a car and realized it wasn’t your car: 8 percent (men: 7 percent; women: 8 percent).

 “It’s those moments when you hope nobody is watching,” said Des Toups, managing editor of “You’re walking around, clicking your key fob repeatedly for some sign of your car, or you just took five tries to get into a parking space.”

The mistake least likely to happen: Getting into a car and realizing it’s not your car, experienced by 8% of drivers.

More than 90 percent of drivers copped to at least one embarrassing gaffe; men admitted to an average of 3.5 and women to an average of 4.2. Nearly 5 percent of drivers admitted to 10 or more.

In addition to misplacing their toll tickets, the other gaffes that men admit to more often than women are: driving away from gas pumps with the nozzle still in their tanks, being unable to get their remote key to work and forgetting a passenger and having to go back.

When asked what mistake was most embarrassing, drivers age 25 to 54 say it’s going the wrong way down a one-way street. But drivers age 55 to 64 say it’s locking their keys in the car, and drivers over 65 say it’s driving away from the gas pump with the nozzle still in their cars.

When asked what flub they fear most, the top choice is “almost hitting a person” (feared by 24%) – and 9% say they’ve done this. And many times worst fears are realized – the other top fears are also frequent occurrences:  locking keys in the car (feared by 22%) and going the wrong way down a one-way street (feared by 19%).

Forty percent of drivers who have experienced driving embarrassments say at least one of them resulted in car damage. (See “Dentmaster: What does my car insurance cover?”) In some cases auto insurance will reimburse the repairs – but not your pride.

Here are the most damage-producing embarrassments and the applicable insurance:

  • Driving over curbs: Covered by collision insurance.
  • Locking keys in the car (and presumably breaking in to get them): Insurance will not pay for intentional damage, even if you’re trying to get your keys, although some policies offer roadside assistance.
  • Driving away from gas pumps with the nozzle still in: Any damage to the car would likely be covered by collision insurance; damage to the pump or gas station would be covered by liability insurance.

For more survey results, see

Methodology commissioned a survey of 2,000 licensed drivers, half men and half women, in April 2014.

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Press contact:

Des Toups
dtoups (at)