For motorists the problem of parking just gets bigger
Drivers who find that parking only seems to get harder may attribute it to their increasing age, or perhaps harbour suspicions that slots are getting smaller.However, the problem most likely lies in their car just being too big.
A study found that while parking spaces are no larger than they were 20 years ago, cars are 16 per cent bigger — on average two inches wider than the gap they have to squeeze into.
It means that the average car is now two inches wider than the 5ft 11ins (1.80m) minimum recommended by Whitehall.
So drivers of a standard car like a Ford Focus at 6ft 7ins (2.01m) will struggle to get into the space without pulling in the wing mirrors.
Having squeezed into the space, getting out of the car without scuffing the door is proving too much for many motorists.
Car doors have accounted for 50 per cent of car park mishaps, bumpers 14 per cent and wings a further 13 per cent.
Halfords and G3 Pro, a company specialising in fixing scarred paintwork, estimate 10 million motorists a year are having to repair their paintwork.
''The majority of drivers we questioned blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them but our research shows that the actual size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice," said a Halfords spokesman.
With the average repair costing around £50, Britain’s drivers are paying out £500 million a year to smooth out the scratches.
Supermarket car parks are apparently the worst according to a 38 per cent of drivers who participated in the survey.
Shopping Centres have accounted for 29 per cent of nicks and station car parks a further 18 per cent.
However an AA spokesman said 80 per cent of its members had complained of a ''parking ding'', but added that technology was being developed to help them.
''With even small cars getting bigger the familiar beep-beep of the parking sensor is a reassuring sound to many drivers. It certainly helps a driver avoid chickening out of taking on a tight parking space and risking embarrassment all-round for getting it wrong and exchanging some paint.''