If you think it seems more difficult to park these days, you’re not wrong. We’ve seen statistics that say 1 in 5 accidents happen in a car park, but have you ever wondered why?
A contributing factor would definitely have to be that the average size of vehicles has increased steadily over the past 20 years, but the size of parking spaces has not. This is certainly true in Australia, and seems to be an issue in other countries as well. According to a study reported in the UK Telegraph this week, the average UK car is now two inches wider than the minimum standard for a parking space. Car designers were unlikely to be thinking of the ramifications on parking when they increased the width of some cars to such a degree. It’s no wonder that people are having trouble squeezing into spaces, and bingles in car parks have become commonplace.
Once these “over-sized” cars get into these “under-sized” spaces, common sense would tell us that it will be almost impossible to get out of the vehicle without a mishap. The statistics also support this, with 50% of car park accidents reportedly caused by opening car doors. Not surprisingly, business is booming in the car repair business, which was estimated by Halfords and G3 Pro (a company specialising in fixing damaged paintwork), that 10 million UK motorists a year need to repair their paintwork.
A Halfords representative commented, ”The majority of drivers we questioned blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them but our research shows that the actual size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice.”
Well, they do have a choice and that might be to buy a smaller car!
While an open car park may have an opportunity to re-gauge its line markings to increase the size of parking spots (should one wish to better accommodate large 4WDs and SUVs), an existing parking structure has far less capacity for re-sizing spaces (given structural elements) without losing valuable parking capacity. To complicate matters further, drivers of large vehicles are frequently seen parking across two spaces. While solving their own personal spatial needs, this solution simply (and selfishly) reduces the capacity of a car park for everyone else.
There are many reasons for buying a smaller car*, and ease of parking is just one of them!