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£716 million a year wasted on parking damage

Brits waste nearly three-quarters of a billion pounds on repairing car damage caused while trying to park their car, according to a report by Accident Exchange.

22.8 per cent of 2.2 million accidents were car park related in the UK in 2011, according to estimates. That’s 501,160 prangs a year, or 1,373 every day. Only rear-end shunts were more common. The annual repair bill for each accident is said to be £1,428, adding up to an eye-watering £715,656,430 a year for the nation.

A possible contributing factor for the increase in parking related incidents is the space, or rather lack of, drivers have to play with. A seventh-generation VW Golf is 203cm wide – much wider than the 171cm wide Golf MK1. Factor in the average space size of 237.5cm and that’s just 17.25cm each side to play with.

Liz Fisher of Accident Exchange said: “Looking at the statistics, you’d think there is chaos in car parks up and down the country and that drivers are literally battling for spaces to park. The fact is, though, that drivers are having to squeeze their larger cars into smaller spaces and there are many more car journeys made than just a decade ago. 

“On top of that, visibility from inside the cabin of new cars is compromised compared to older vehicles, which used far more glass and had lower sills and narrower pillars. That could be part of the explanation for the recent increase.” 

Government car park space size stipulations have remained the same since 1994, even though the average car is wider and longer. The Department for Transport recommends a minimum width of 1.8m and a maximum of 2.8 metres, the former of which is used by most councils and businesses keen to squeeze as many spaces in an area as possible.

There is, of course, one way to reduce the likelihood of having your pride and joy pranged at your local NCP – let Ray the friendly robot do all the work. Alternatively fit some of those rear-parking sensors.

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