Prang-swapping website Accident Exchange has revealed that modern day Britain is simply too small for the larger vehicles favoured by today’s anxious and status-hungry motorists.

Not only do people need taller cars so they can look down on other drivers, they also need wider cars to they can just generally feeler butcher, more insulated, and ‘tucked in’.

And it’s not just car owners who want to make cars bigger. Manufacturers are having to make cars bigger to incorporate lots of new safety features and kit and so on. It just has to be done, really.

This leaves funny old Britain feeling more than a little quaint, poky and spatially inadequate. It’s literally ridiculous that we are still using car parks designed in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, when today’s cars are many times the size of those built back in those bad old days.

For example, a 1960s mini was so small you could quite literally fit one in a matchbox (see illustration). Today’s equivalent is so wide that a 6ft tall man could lie down across the back seats, provided he folded his legs up against his chest!

The vast size of modern vehicles is leading to almost £1.5 billion worth of damage claims in areas where cars are parked, if you believe Accident Exchange. According to unsourced guesses, there are over 675,000 car parking collisions each year caused by excessive car size – a staggering 1,859 every day!

Some survey or other has found that the average UK parking space is just 4.8 metres long and 2.4 metres wide, while popular SUVs like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class are twice that long and nearly five times as wide. Or something.

Not only are many Brits incapable of manoeuvring the lumbering beasts they like to drive in confined spaces without impacting others vehicles, but also parking spaces designed for the laughably slimline cars of yesteryear are literally impossible to park without a) scraping and gouging vehicles to either side and/or b) discovering you can’t open your door to get out.

Accident Exchange’s director of accidents Scott Hamilton-Scooper believes that the increasing size of UK vehicles “could be contributing to the rise in car parking incidents we are seeing” and that the fact that parking spaces aren’t terribly wide “makes things tight for large cars.”

It’s pretty terrifying when you stop to think about it.



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