Friday 20th January 2017
‘Clarkson parking’ trend fuelled by fat cars and fat drivers, AA boss says.

Imagine you’re driving into a car park, it’s busy and you’re hunting for a space. Yet instead of finding neatly parked cars, you’re faced with large vehicles taking over two spaces. Would this frustrate you? Or would you understand their choice to own a larger car and ‘protect’ it by using the ‘Clarkson parking’ method?

Katie Morley, The Telegraph, reports:

Drivers who park over two spaces in order to protect their cars from other "bad parkers" may be among the greatest self-perpetuating ironies of modern motoring. 

Yet a new trend for so-called "Clarkson parking" is sweeping Britain, with big car owners becoming increasingly willing to protect their vehicles at all costs. 

The controversial parking technique, named after Jeremy Clarkson the former Top Gear presenter, appears to be becoming increasingly common among car enthusiasts who are taking to social media to brag about their audacious parking.

In July Mr Clarkson jokingly tweeted a picture of a badly parked car, saying that his parking skills were "even more impressive".

The parking phenomenon appears to be fuelled by a rise in giant cars, and as newspaper reported last year, vehicles' expanding size over the years is causing a rapid increase in car park scrapes.

But people's cars are not the only thing to expand and cause people to park badly, it has been suggested. According to Edmund King, chief executive of the AA, the expansion of people's waistlines over the years means they are also more likely to take up two parking spaces for fear of getting stuck between cars. 

He said: "The increasing size of vehicles is having an effect on bad parking as car parks were designed in the Fifties and Sixties when cars were much smaller. 

"But some drivers are also worried about being able to get out of the car once they have parked without getting stuck. So this is also a reflection of a rise in obesity in people."

Since 1954, around the time when many car parks were built, the waistline of a typical British male has grown by three inches, from 34 to 37 inches.

Kelvin Reynolds, director of policy at the British Parking Association, said Clarkson-style parkers were "selfish" as they were making finding a space harder for everyone else. 

He said: "There is a supreme irony in people not parking properly to protect themselves from others not parking properly. They are reducing number of cars in spaces, so this is actually very selfish, isn't it."

Yesterday a man who was shamed on social media for parking over two spaces claimed he does it to protect his car from "clowns who can't park or drive".

Luke Vardy, 24, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was tagged in a post on a Facebook group called 'Parking like a t**t' after a local shopper spotted his £16,000 second-hand Astra GTR VXR positioned squarely in the middle of two spaces at a supermarket.

Mr Vardly said: "I park like that every time if I am staying somewhere for any length of time. If I am nipping in a shop for a couple of minutes I might not do it, but if I know I'm going to be a while then I will do it.

"If there was a real shortage of bays available then I might not do it as I would see why people would get annoyed. "I can see why people get annoyed when they see it. Someone who just can't park properly is annoying but that's not what I'm doing."

Over the past 15 years popular hatchback models have increased in size by 16 per cent on average, data from car makers shows.

For example a Ford Mondeo is now 1.85 metres across and just over 4.8 metres long, having expanded in size by 12.8 per cent since 1993, putting it among the fastest growing popular saloon car. In recent years giant 4x4 models such as Range Rovers have also surged in popularity.

The rise in bigger cars has seen the number of car park crashes soar by 35pc over the past two years, leading experts to warn that standard parking spaces are no longer big enough to accommodate this new, chunkier breed of automobile.

There are now more than 675,000 car parking collisions and scrapes each year – or 1,859 a day – which cost drivers a total of £1.4 billion.

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