A tale of larger vehicles and minor prangs
The year started by replacing some of our vehicles, including my trusted Mitsubishi truck. It has served me well, but the time had come to ring the changes with an eye on the future and so I set about looking for a replacement. Having considered the economic, capacity, and safety factors, one of the big issues still on the table was, would you believe, parking.
I like an elevated driving position so favour driving an SUV type vehicle. It seems that I am not alone as SUVs now account for 24.4% of total European sales. Add this to the general trend towards owning larger vehicles and the question surfaces, how does this affect parking?
Recent research by Accident Exchange links a 35% rise in minor prangs involving SUVs to the width of parking bays. When those little rectangular boxes were originally designed, on average, cars were much smaller. However, we are still asked for car park marking using the average UK bay size of 4.8m long and 2.4m wide; but SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class are more than 5m long and nearly 2m wide.
This causes all sorts of complications:
· Overhanging the end of the bay causing an obstacle for passing cars;
· Overhanging pedestrian walkways in supermarket car parks;
· Difficulty in opening doors wide enough to get out and in again, and of course;
· The frustration of trying to manoeuvre safely between two parked vehicles.
· Parking bays in multi-storey car parks, have the added obstacles of pillars and tight ramps to go around.
How many of us drive past empty spaces in a car park hoping to find a larger one or have to climb across to get out of the passenger side? Time for car park owners to reconsider the size of the bays perhaps.
What did I end up buying? A smaller SUV of course!