RAC Cars News


More Than Half A Million Collisions Per Year In Car Parks

By raccars Published

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Crash repair company, Accident Exchange, has conducted a survey showing that UK drivers experience an average of 1,373 prangs in car parks every day, with an annual cost of more than £700 million. Car park collisions are the second most common form of car accident after rear end collisions.

The number of car park collisions has risen by almost 4% since 2010, which the report attributes to car park spaces remaining the same size while the average vehicle has got bigger. The resulting repair bills for British motorists now come to £716 million every year, with an average cost of £1,428 for every shunt. Of the 2.2 million accidents that occurred in 2011 on British roads, 22.78%, or nearly a quarter, took place in car parks. While most car park collisions take place at low speed, the resulting damage to bumpers, wheels, doors and other bodywork can still be expensive to repair.

According to medical experts, squeezing in and out of cars parked in cramped spaces is also causing strains and back injuries to drivers.

As part of the survey, the average parking space was measured at 237.5cm or 7ft 9.5 inches wide. However, this is tight even for family hatchback size cars, with the latest model of Golf measuring 203cm or 6ft 7.5 inches wide, leaving only 17.25cm or just over six inches spare on each side of the car. By comparison, the first generation Golf, released in 1974, measured only 171cm or 5ft 7.3 inches in width, including the wing mirrors - about a foot less than the current version.

The average car size has grown across the board, with car makers trying to increase the amount of interior space and comfort, while the inclusion of obligatory crash protection measures has also added extra bulk. As a result, cars have grown about 16% wider in the last 20 years, with some of the biggest selling models expanding by up to 25%. Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has not changed its guidelines on the size of off-street parking since the Eighties. Local authorities are obliged to make parking spaces a minimum of 180cm or 5ft 11 inches wide, to comply with the DfT's rules, but the average British car is now some two inches wider than this.

The Institution of Structural Engineers recommends local authorities be set a mandatory minimum parking space width of 230cm for long stay, 250cm for short stay and 240cm for mixed term parking.

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