Where can you park?
Have you ever parked your car and returned hours later to find a yellow notice stuck on the windscreen? If so, you're not alone: government data analysed by the RAC Foundation predicts a whopping 17,137 tickets were issued every single day between October and December 2017.
A parking fine is an expense all drivers can do without, so we've put together this simple guide to help you park right, every time…
Double and single lines: what's the difference?
Double yellows. The exact rules of double yellows can vary from street to street, but generally speaking, you can't park on them at any time. That's unless there's a sign explicitly permitting parking during certain times and/or days, or allowing temporary loading/unloading.
Single yellows. You can't park on these during the controlled times displayed on the sign, e.g. from Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. Bear in mind that rules change with each street, and if the sign doesn't show a day of the week, the rules apply every day including public holidays. There may be signs allowing you to stop briefly for loading/unloading.
Red lines. Some areas in the UK have red lines, or 'red routes.' In London, for instance, single and double red lines mean you can't stop to park, load or unload, unless you're a licensed taxi or Blue Badge holder. Signs will display restrictions for single reds, but doubles mean no stopping at any time. On some red routes, you might be able to stop to park, load or unload in a marked box in circumstances listed on the sign.
Parking on pavements
Parking on a pavement can compromise the safety of pedestrians, particularly those in wheelchairs, with prams, or with visual impairments. London's currently the only place in the UK to have made it an offence, though the Department for Transport (DfT) is debating rolling it out to the whole of England and Wales.
This means that parking on the pavement in any other area is not technically against the law, though it's an offence to drive on it. If it's explicitly allowed, it'll be marked by a white and blue sign. Our best piece of advice would be to use common sense and consider if your actions will impact the safety of other people.
Parking outside someone's home
It's completely legal to park outside someone's house, even if they're upset because you've 'stolen their spot'! You're not allowed to block a driveway or park over a dropped kerb though, or park in an area governed by residents' parking permits (with the exception of Sundays in most cases).
What the Highway Code says
Drivers are advised to use off-street parking areas, or specially marked bays, to park their cars whenever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside, here's what the Highway Code says you should and should not do:
- DO stop as close to the kerb as possible
- DO switch off the engine, headlights and fogs
- DO apply the handbrake before getting out of the car
- DO check for other road users when opening your door
- DO get out of the vehicle next to the kerb (this goes for passengers, too)
- DON'T park facing against the flow of traffic
- DON'T park too close to a Blue Badge vehicle, as the occupant may require more space to get out
- DON'T leave valuables in sight
- DON'T forget to lock your car