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Is this proof you're more likely to have a car accident than ever before?

Car crash

2018 cars are up to 20 per cent wider than those made in 1998 (Image: GETTY)

The most popular cars in the UK have grown in size over the past few decades which could increase the possibility of a motorist having an accident.

According to new research by Direct Line Car Insurance, Britain’s most popular cars have increased in width by 17 per cent over the past two decades.

The 20 most popular cars in Britain in 2018 were compared with those from 1998 to see how their dimensions had changed.

Some of the most popular cars in 2018 such as the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 had an average width of 1.94 metres.

This is compared to the most popular vehicles in 1998 (including the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Cavalier, Rover 214 and the Nissan Micra) the average width came in at 1.66m, meaning they were 28cm (17 per cent) narrower.

Some of the most popular models in 2018 were significantly larger than their identical counterparts in 1998, such as the Nissan Micra which was 22 per cent wider.

Drivers are now being urged to be aware of roads with width restrictions and to recognise the appropriate signage.

The most-common width restrictions are 6.6ft to 7ft wide2, around two metres, marked with unforgiving bollards.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta is the most popular car in the UK (Image: FORD)

Direct Line has uncovered this can affect normal family cars, as the Ford Focus 2018 model is currently 2.01m wide excluding wing mirrors.

The Peugeot 208, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra are all currently on the two metre boundary and drivers will need to be vigilant when using width restricted streets. 

Motorists are being urged to be careful when on the road as they may not be aware of the size of their vehicle and could therefore be more prone to scrape or bump it.

Drivers could also be at risk when they go down a country road or narrow street ad they could be more at risk of damaging their car.

Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra is over 20 per cent wider than it was 20 years ago (Image: NISSAN)

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line commented: “This research shows that car shapes have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, though roads remain the same width, so it is becoming harder to manoeuvre modern cars on Britain’s roads.

“With the size of cars increasing, manoeuvres and parking may become more of a challenge.

“Bumps and scratches happen to even the best drivers, so motorists need to make sure their insurer covers unforeseen accidents.

“Motorists who do accidentally hit another vehicle should always make sure to leave their contact details.”

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa is another popular vehicle that has ballooned in size (Image: VAUXHALL)

How Britain’s most popular models have grown in size over the past two decades:

Ford Fiesta
2018 Model: Length 3.95m, Width 1.97m, Height 1.48m
1998 Model:Length 3.83m, Width 1.79m, Height 1.32m

Ford Focus
2018 Model: Length 4.39m, Width 2.01m, Height 1.47m
1998 Model: Length 4.15m, Width 1.99m, Height 1.43m

Vauxhall Astra
2018 Model: Length 4.42m, Width 2.01m, Height 1.51m
1998 Model: Length 4.05m, Width 1.85m, Height 1.41m

Vauxhall Corsa
2018 Model: Length 4.02m, Width 1.94m, Height 1.48m
1998 Model: Length 3.74m, Width 1.77m, Height 1.42m

Volkswagen Golf
2018 Model:Length 4.26m, Width 2.03m, Height 1.45m
1998 Model:Length 4.14m, Width 2.02m, Height 1.44m

Audi A3
2018 Model: Length 4.24m, Width 1.97m, Height 1.42m
1998 Model: Length 4.15m, Width 1.85m, Height 1.43m

Peugeot 200 series
2018 Model:Length 3.96m, Width 2.00m, Height 1.46m
1998 Model:Length 3.71m,Width 1.57m, Height n/a

Nissan Micra
2018 Model: Length 3.99m, Width 1.94m, Height 1.46m
1998 Model: Length 3.72m, Width 1.59m, Height 1.44m

Renault Clio
2018 Model: Length 4.06m, Width 1.95m Height 1.45m
1998 Model: Length 3.71m, Width 1.63m, Height n/a

Fiat Punto
2018 Model: Length 4.07m, Width 1.69m, Height 1.49m
1998 Model: Length 3.76m, Width 1.63m, Height 1.45m

2018 Model: Length 4.14m, Width 1.95m, Height 1.47m
1998 Model: Length 3.90m, Width 1.77m, Height 1.42m

Edmund King, president at the AA, said: “There’s no doubt that we have noticed that on narrower roads we are getting more cars that hit the curb, and this is adding to break down claims.

“In the 1970s two Minis would easily fit down a country lane but if you put two modern style Minis down there now, they won’t fit.

“Part of the reason why cars are now made larger is psychological, as people feel safer in a bigger car.

“As technology has advanced cars are safer, and it is these protective technologies which mean that cars are larger.”

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