Written by James Murray-Jones
Frightening thought: every day there are more than one thousand low-speed collisions in car parks. With the average repair bill exceeding £1,500 (source: Accident Exchange).
Cars are increasingly bulky, while it seems parking spaces are skinnier than ever.
Council car park spaces can legally be up to 8ft 10in (270cm) wide, but most are little wider than the minimum required 7ft 6in (228.6cm). Take a small to average car – say a Vauxhall Astra measuring 6ft wide – and you have only 9 inches clearance on either side.
According to road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist, slow speed manoeuvring and ‘hit while parked’ incidents are the most common collision types.
Repair costs are usually modest but, at their worst, they can have a negative impact on your policy’s no claims bonus. Not to mention the inconvenience of taking your car off the road for repair work.
GEM recommend that the safest usual way to park is to reverse into a space, keeping a close watch out for obstacles like walls, bollards and kerbs.
While not always practical to reverse-in – particularly if you need boot access – it also provides the safest option for exiting your space.
When exiting your space, go slowly, particularly if your view is obscured by a hulking great SUV. And make sure you look out for pedestrians and vehicles moving behind you.