Parking prangs increase blamed on cars being too big for spaces

Car park crashes have soared by one third because spaces are no longer big enough to deal with Britain's love affair with the 4x4.

Larger cars trying to fit parking spaces too small for them have been blamed for an increase in collisions.
Larger cars trying to fit parking spaces too small for them have been blamed for an increase in collisions.

It is now estimated there are more than 675,000 car parking collisions and scrapes each year - costing a total of £1.4 billion.

This is partly because an average parking space is just 4.8 metres long and 2.4m wide - making it a squeeze for popular SUVs like the Range Rover and Audi Q7.

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A Range Rover is five metres long and more than 2m wide, making it difficult to park in a tight space and even harder to open the door and get out.

With the added challenge of pillars and tight ramps in multi-storey car parks, manoeuvring larger vehicles is now making some car parks ‘no-go’ areas for Britain’s motorists.

It isn’t just SUV owners who are finding parking a struggle, with family saloons now much larger than they used to be.

The Ford Mondeo is 4.9m long while a Volkswagen Passat stretches to 4.75m.

Research by Accident Exchange, which handles crash claims, found the number of parking prangs has increased by an estimated 35 per cent since 2014.

It is estimated there are over 675,000 car parking collisions of this type annually - or nearly 1,900 a day.

With an average bill of £2,050 to repair accident-damaged vehicles, parking-related incidents now account for more than 30 per cent of all crashes.

The firm said Glasgow and Edinburgh were the 11th and 12th worst places in Britain respectively for parking collisions, accounting for 3 per cent of the total damage.

Scott Hamilton-Cooper, director of operations Accident Exchange, said: “Drivers are having to squeeze increasingly large cars into spaces that generally haven’t got any larger for a very long time.

“Almost all of the councils we researched carried over the [UK] Government’s recommendation, which makes things tight for large cars.

“This could be contributing to the rise in car parking incidents we are seeing.

“Manufacturers follow the market, and so cars are outgrowing parking spaces.

“Not only are popular SUVs usurping smaller hatchbacks when it comes to new cars sales, older smaller cars are being taken off the street.

“The undoubted success of the SUV segment will have played its part - perhaps the roads aren’t quite ready for them because some drivers feel certain car parks are no-go areas due the sheer length and width of their cars.”

Neil Greig, of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “Car parking bumps add to everyone’s premiums, so car park designers need to be more aware of the needs of larger 4x4 drivers.

“However, changing existing car parks is going to take years, so drivers will have to learn how to cope.

“Practice makes perfect, as the current driving test doesn’t actually include multi-storey car parks.

“In a big vehicle, you need to be very aware of the problem and choose an end space, or simply walk a bit further from a quieter corner.”