Wherever you have people, you have cars, and wherever you have cars you have car parks – and although modern car parks are incredibly well designed, they’re still host to about 40% of all accidents on British roads. Yes, according to Accident Exchange, prangs in car parks cost British motorists a staggering £716 million per year! This week we’re going to have a look at some of the facts and figures involved in car park accidents, and suggest a few simple ways you can avoid becoming another statistic.
That £716 million figure sounds excessive, but when you consider that there are over 500,000 collisions in car parks every year – that’s over 1300 a day – it starts to make sense. With an average bump costing around £1400 to repair, it soon adds up. The alarming part of this equation is that the figures are rising steadily, which begs the question: are we worse drivers than before? Maybe we are, but before we jump to that conclusion we need to take a look at some of the possible reasons for these statistics.
It’s a tight fit!
In a previous article we talked about the differences between modern car parks and the concrete tombs of the 60s and 70s. Designers are now trying to create spacious and airy buildings with plenty of light for people and their vehicles. The problem is that the majority of car parks in service today are still stuck in the past – dark, hard to navigate, and with spaces designed for vehicles of much more modest dimensions. Yes, cars, even super-minis, have grown up to the point that they barely fit in standard spaces. Is it any wonder that we have more prangs when, for example, the VW Golf has grown over 30cm wider in the past few decades? A standard car park space of 237.5cm will leave just 17.3cm either side compared to over 66cm for a MK1 Golf – and a Golf is not a big car!
Avoiding those little bumps
There are, however, preventative measures we can take to improve our odds of keeping the bills down and our sanity in check:
• Park in modern car parks wherever possible, because spaces are generally a little more generous, and they’re much easier to navigate.
• Reverse in to spaces because it’s safer to reverse into something you can see (the space) rather than the oncoming traffic, which is likely to be obscured from your vision.
• Park away from other cars wherever possible rather than in the closest spot to the lifts.
If you follow these simple tips, take your time when parking, and pay attention to your surroundings there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy years of safe car park use!