Car park story hits headlines

Accident Exchange’s news that Britain’s car parking spaces are too small to cope with big family SUVs, leading to nearly £1.4bn of car park prangs every year, attracted the eyes of mainstream media.

The national press including BBC, Sky News and the Telegraph all picked up on the story which highlighted how the average parking space is just 4.8 metres long and 2.4 metres wide, however popular SUVs like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class measure in at five metres plus in length, and nearly two metres wide.

The research undertaken by Accident Exchange, which assists vehicle manufacturers and dealerships in keeping motorists mobile in the event of an accident, estimated a 35% increase in parking prangs since 2014, and the meteoric rise of SUVs could be a factor.

With an average bill of £2,050 to repair accident-damaged vehicles, parking-related incidents now account for more than 30% of all accidents. It is now estimated that there are over 675,000 car parking collisions of this type annually – a staggering 1,859 every day.

It’s not just the popularity of SUVs which is impacting the average size of vehicles, smaller vehicles like the Vauxhall Corsa are significantly larger than their counterparts just 15 years ago.

The study, which measured the growth of some of the most popular vehicles in the UK, found that the latest Corsa had undergone the biggest change to its size over a 15-year period. The popular hatchback has expanded by a staggering 16%, a trend that persists across most vehicle segments.

Scott Hamilton-Cooper, director of operations at Accident Exchange, commented, ‘Almost all of the councils we researched carried over the 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.’

The recent study examined over 85,000 incidents recorded by Accident Exchange between mid-2013 and August 2016.