By Stewart Smith on 2016-11-21 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
Tight parking spaces
CAR parking spaces in multi-storey and ground level car parks in towns and shopping centres are not suitable for today's large family-size SUVs and its costing drivers millions of pounds in bodywork repairs.
The average parking space in the UK 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, and nearly two metres wide.
Even some of the most popular small cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa, are 15 per cent bigger than they were 15 years ago when most motors were much smaller.
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 many motorists.
According to research undertaken by Accident Exchange accident repair specialist, which assists manufacturers and dealerships in keeping motorists mobile in the event of an accident, estimated a 35 per cent increase in parking prangs since 2014, and the meteoric rise of SUVs could be a factor.
The company says Britain's car parking spaces are too small to cope with consumers' love affair with big family SUVs, leading to nearly Â£1.4bn of car park prangs every year.
With an average bill of Â£2,050 to repair accident-damaged vehicles, parking-related incidents now account for more than 30 per cent of all accidents. It's estimated that there are over 675,000 car parking collisions of this type annually - a staggering 1,859 every day.
Scott Hamilton-Cooper, director of operations at 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 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 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."
The recent study examined over 85,000 incidents recorded by Accident Exchange between mid-2013 and August 2016.
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