Who ate all the pies?

Stat of the day: 16% - The amount the width of the average family car has increased over the past 40 years.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Been finding it harder than usual to squeeze into parking spaces? That’s not surprising – new research by the Department for Transport has found that cars have widened by 16% over the past 40 years. Take, for example, the Ford Escort, which was a svelte 5ft 2in when it was first launched. It’s now a positively beamy 6ft 1in. In fact, so broad is the average family runaround that it’s two inches wider than the DfT’s minimum width for a parking bay.

But what’s the DfT to do about all those under-sized bays? The obvious solution would be to widen them, but that would cause new problems. As Transport Minister Norman Baker pointed out, ‘if all parking bays had to be wide enough to accommodate larger cars and 4x4s, driving would be made impossible on many narrow roads’. Another good reason, perhaps, to avoid shelling out for that Chelsea Tractor…

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