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Why 8 out of 10 Vans Don't Fit in UK Parking Spaces and How to Navigate the Issue

Rhino Trade Insurance 05 July 2024

Imagine the scene: You're driving through the maze of British streets, navigating tight turns and narrow lanes, only to find yourself in the all-too-familiar struggle of trying to fit your van into a parking space designed for a smaller vehicle. Sound familiar? You're not alone. In fact, statistics show that a whopping 8 out of 10 vans in the UK face this same challenge. But fear not, fellow tradespeople! In this blog post, we're going to delve into the reasons behind this issue and provide some practical tips on how to avoid those pesky fines.

Why Most Vans Don't Fit:

  • Van Dimensions: Let's start with the obvious - vans are simply bigger than cars. With their larger dimensions and often bulkier designs, vans struggle to squeeze into the standard (compact) parking spaces typically found in urban areas.
  • Parking Space Sizes: Many parking spaces in the UK are designed with cars in mind, often failing to accommodate larger vehicles like vans. This mismatch between vehicle size and parking space dimensions creates a recipe for frustration and can lead to fines.
  • Urbanisation and Congestion: As cities become more densely populated and congested, parking spaces are at a premium. This means that even if a parking space technically exists, it might not be practical or feasible for a van to manoeuvre into it without causing obstructions or risking damage to other vehicles.

Which Vans are the Main culprits?

Several large commercial vans in the UK are a source of concern, including the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Crafter, and Renault Master. These often struggle to fit into standard UK parking spaces. 

The reason? These vans boast extended wheelbases and towering roof heights, making them challenging to turn into tight spots. Their bulkiness is primarily designed for hauling hefty loads and accommodating all your tools and materials, which inevitably results in difficulty navigating congested urban areas. 

As a result, tradespeople driving these vans must exercise caution and strategic planning to avoid fines and minimise inconvenience to themselves and other road users.

We’d Avoid Multi Storey car parks too!

Tradespeople and their trusty vans often form an inseparable duo, but when it comes to multi-story car parks, this partnership can quickly turn into a headache. Here's why it's best for tradespeople to steer clear of these car parks in the sky:

Height Restrictions: Multi-story car parks typically have low clearance heights, making them a nightmare for taller vans. Oversized vans like the Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter risk scraping their roofs or getting stuck in the entrance.

Narrow Ramps and Turns: Manoeuvring a large van through the narrow ramps and tight turns of a multi-story car park is akin to threading a needle. It's a recipe for frustration and potential damage to both the vehicle and the structure itself.

Limited Parking Space: Even if a tradesperson manages to squeeze their van into a space, multi-story car parks often have limited parking spaces suitable for larger vehicles. This can result in endless circling and wasted time.

Increased Risk of Accidents: The confined spaces and heavy traffic within multi-story car parks increase the likelihood of accidents, whether it's bumping into pillars, scraping against other vehicles, or encountering pedestrians in crowded areas.

Difficulty Loading and Unloading: Once parked, tradespeople may struggle with loading and unloading equipment due to the cramped conditions. This can lead to delays and frustration, especially when time is of the essence.

How To Avoid Fines and Headaches

Plan Ahead: 

Before heading out on a job, take some time to research parking options near your destination. Look for car parks with dedicated spaces for larger vehicles or areas with unrestricted street parking where you won't have to worry about size constraints.

Utilise Technology: 

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are now several apps available that can help you find suitable parking spots for your van. Apps like Parkopedia and JustPark allow you to search for parking spaces based on your vehicle's dimensions, making it easier to find spots that are a good fit.

Be Flexible: 

If you're struggling to find parking in a particularly congested area, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Consider alternative parking options such as nearby industrial estates or business parks where parking restrictions may be less stringent.

Arrive Early: 

As the old saying goes, the early bird catches the worm - or in this case, the parking space. Arriving early not only increases your chances of finding a suitable spot but also gives you the added bonus of starting your day ahead of schedule.

Invest in Parking Aids: 

If you frequently find yourself grappling with tight parking spaces, investing in parking aids such as sensors or cameras can be a game-changer. These devices can help you navigate into tricky spots with ease, reducing the risk of accidental bumps or scrapes.

Know the Rules: 

Familiarise yourself with local parking regulations and restrictions to avoid falling foul of the law. Be mindful of things like parking permits, loading zones, and designated parking areas for commercial vehicles.

Be Prepared to Pay: 

In certain situations, paying for parking in a designated car park may be the most practical option. While it might be an added expense, it's often a small price to pay compared to the potential cost of fines or damage incurred from trying to squeeze into unsuitable spaces.

Need help with choosing your van? Read our articles on buying the right sized van here

Get Your Trade Covered With Rhino

So, there you have it our fellow tradespeople – the things to remember when it comes to parking your work van in the great country we call Britain. And when it comes to safeguarding your livelihood as a tradesperson, Rhino Trade Insurance is your ultimate wingman. 

With tailored coverage and unwavering support, you can tackle any job with confidence, knowing that Rhino has your back. So why settle for second-rate insurance when you can have the heavyweight champion of the trade insurance world in your corner? Get a quick and easy quote now, Rhino isn't just an option - it's a no-brainer.


About The Author Phil McCormick

Experienced in brand marketing and content. Most of that lovely communication you see online will be from Phil. social media, emails, videos, how to make a bacon sarny? You get the gist!

Trade most identified with: Electrician - It’s our Phil’s job to map out all our communications and make sure the signal works! Also, he’s one of the cockiest blighters in the team so electrician fits perfectly!

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