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87% of vans don’t fit in UK parking bays – how to avoid a fine

2-minute read

Commercial vans lined up in parking spaces at warehouse
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

20 March 2024

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Eight of the 10 most popular vans in the UK in 2023 are too long to squeeze into a parking space, according to the latest research from Vanarama.

The vehicle leasing company compared dimensions of last year’s most registered commercial vans to the UK’s average parking space.

The average parking bay is 4.8 metres long and 2.2 metres wide.

If you drive a van for work then you may find this story all too familiar – but it’s important to know how to avoid a fine when parking your vehicle while out on a job.

Which vans are too big?

Being too long for a parking bay is the main challenge, with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter taking the lead when it comes to stretching beyond the space.

Ford Transit is the only one out of the top 10 best selling vans to be wider than the average UK car parking space.

Other popular vans that are too long for parking spaces include the Vauxhall Vivaro, Ford Ranger, the Volkswagen Transporter, and the Renault Trafic.

Multi-storey car parks are another challenge

Van drivers also struggle with height restrictions in multi-storey car parks.

Looking at the average height restrictions across 50 multi-level car parks, Vanarama found 50 per cent of vans are too tall to fit through the entrance.

This data is based on calculating an average car park restriction height of 2.02 metres.

How to avoid a fine when parking

Make sure you’re familiar with The Highway Code, which says that you should use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible.

Parking on double yellow lines isn’t allowed at any time, and can result in a fine of up to £130 (depending on your local authority).

As a general rule, make sure your van isn’t causing an obstruction – although this can be tricky if spaces aren't big enough for your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to read up on the latest driving laws.

How to choose your van

As well as size, cost and reliability are just some of the features you’ll need to consider when buying a van.

Simply Business researched some of the best small vans and medium vans to help you choose what’s right for your business. And remember to buy business van insurance so you’re legally compliant while out on the road.

Do you struggle to park your commercial van? Let us know your experience in the comments.

Vanarama’s methodology: UK parking bay dimensions sourced from Multi-storey height limits sourced from local council websites. The vans included in the piece were sourced from SMMT and were the best-selling from January to November 2023. Van dimensions were sourced from either the manufacturer’s website or from

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Photograph: OceanProd/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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