Wide loads coming through: Modern cars outgrowing their parking spaces

It’s the bane of every motorist desperately searching for a car parking space when they see what looks to be an empty space, when it’s in fact occupied by a much smaller car. Toyota Aygo’s, SmartCars and Citroen C1s have no problem wheeling into a space that could have been just designed for them, with a little wiggle room to boot. But their SUV counterparts are beginning to find small car parking spaces a big problem.

The Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and BMW X5 don’t only find average car parking spaces a little tight – they’re too big for them altogether. Meanwhile three-door hatchbacks such as the Vauxhall Corsa which used to be on the compact side, have now morphed into something larger with the release of newer models, now dwarfing other hatchbacks that tip over just 1ltr of engine capacity.

The average car parking space measures 4.80 x 2.40m. Meanwhile, the Land Rover Discovery 5 rolls in, or at least attempts to, at 4.97 x 2m.

Introduce further obstacles such as pillars and multi-storey car parks, and the reverse park becomes even more of a challenge.

The penchant for larger cars and SUVs among British motorists is such that it is being considered as a contributing factor for the risk in parking-related prangs, which have seen a 35% increase in recent times.

Car parking incidents now account for 30% of accidents, with Accident Exchange recording 85,000 between 2013 and 2016.

Accident Exchange’s Director of Operations, Scott Hamilton-Cooper, says the shift in car size preference was plain to see,

“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 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.”

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