We’ve all been there. Returning from a day out to find a big scratch, scuff or dent on your pride and joy. It turns out this is becoming all the more common. Recent research suggests that UK drivers are involved in an estimated 1,400 parking incidents daily with an average repair cost of over £1,400. To look at the bigger picture this means that UK drivers are causing £716m worth of accident repair bills from 500,000 separate incidents annually. Incidents often occur at very low speeds with damage to doors, bumpers, wheels and bodywork.
It appears that figures for car prangs are only set to rise as even the smallest vehicles are getting much larger which is seen as a key contributor for a four per cent rise in prangs since 2010. Have you looked at a Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio or Ford Fiesta recently? Gone are the days when these cars were truly compact, instead we are seeing vehicle widths increased by up to a quarter making the likelihood of incidents much more more prevalent when parking.
A big issue in newer vehicles is that of reduced visibility. Newer vehicles tend to use less glass than predecessors. Combine this with wider pillars in the cabin and higher sills and you have a driving experience boasting less visibility than in the past which in part is to blame on the increase in parking incidents.
Perhaps the problem lies not in the build of a car but the size of the space that the vehicle is trying to be parked in. Recent research suggests that council parking spaces are being made to the minimum end of specifications to allow for more spaces to be created. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that bigger cars + smaller spaces will result in increased parking incidents.
However, with more technology available than ever before shouldn’t the number of incidents decrease? Even the majority of budget specification vehicles now boast some form of assisted parking such as parking sensors and power steering to make parking easier.
Exercising common sense can often prevent an untimely incident. If you are driving a brand new vehicle and are in a rush you wouldn’t want to sandwich it between two vehicles which have already ran very close to the bay perimeters. Instead, when possible leave earlier to allow yourself more choice, time and flexibility in your parking options. If you are parking in a supermarket or multi-storey chose a spot in a quieter area of the car park as this should reduce the likelihood that your car is involved in a parking prang.
Spaces are getting smaller and cars are getting bigger. However, with increased parking technology and better planning you can prevent yourself becoming another statistic on a growing repair bill.