March 15, 2012

Comparison site Confusing.com this week raised the terrifying prospect that motorists parking outside busy supermarkets and in multi-storey car parks could soon find themselves trapped inside their supersized vehicles.

The girth of the average UK car has ballooned alarmingly in recent years, with today’s Landrover 15” wider than the original, a Fiat 500 more than 12” wider, and a VW Beetle 10” wider.

Automotive weight gain has reached the point where the average car is now 6’1” wide, whilst the minimum parking space is a piffling 5’11” across, leaving an unpromising minus 2” clearance for opening doors, climbing out etc.

The hidden cost of Britain’s vehicular obesity explosion, according to Confusing.com (whose own string-haired avatar, Bankstone News feels bound to observe, whilst still a deal svelter than Go Campari’s lardy-arsed tenor, has certainly filled out a bit lately) is an epidemic of bodywork damage that is currently costing an estimated £1.3bn per annum.

So frequent have minor collisions and bumpages become that their perpetrators no longer bother mentioning them to their victims. One in five Brits apparently confess to being ‘prang and runners’, as Confusing.com sees fit to term them.

Apparently lawyers and “people in property” are the worst. But you probably knew that.

Confusing.com’s press release provides a handy list of where not to leave your car: Worcester, Wrexham, Leicester, Chelmsford, Leeds – a list which, coincidentally, appears to consist exclusively of places no sane person would take their car in the first place.

Amongst the many excuses for “just touching” parked vehicles offered by respondents in Confusing.com’s survey, was an excessive proliferation of pillars and other similar structural elements within multi-storey car parks. Surely there must be a better way of preventing one floor from collapsing on to the one below. Some kind of enquiry should probably be called.

Oddly “being a bit crap at driving” did not feature prominently amongst the prang causes cited. That’s reassuring at least.

Click on the image above for detailed instructions on coping with narrow parking spaces.


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