Avoid the fines: a guide to where you can and can't park

Understanding parking rules and laws

With more and more cars seemingly on the roads, even the humblest shopping trip can turn into a nightmare adventure when it comes to finding a parking space. For those in metropolitan areas in particular, battling for a space takes patience, not to mention the ability to stay calm under pressure.

Did you know, however, that there are a number of parking rules and parking laws that dictate exactly how and where you can leave your car, therefore making the entire process more difficult still? This parking guide will help you better understand the regulations and ensure you never fall foul of the dreaded parking warden.

Double yellow lines

Unable to find a space? Only having to stop for a couple of minutes? If so, you may be tempted to leave your vehicle parked on double yellow lines. Doing so, however, may land you in hot water. While motorists with a Blue Badge are entitled to park for up to three hours as long as there is no danger or obstruction caused, the only other way you can get away with stopping is by clearly demonstrating that you are loading or unloading your vehicle in a continual manner. Even then, there may be signage which strictly forbids such activity, so make sure you check carefully.

Single yellow line

The single yellow line, meanwhile, adopts the same policy as the double yellow lines, with one difference: that restrictions only apply during clearly advertised times. More often than not, restrictions are relaxed in evenings and over the weekend, but make sure you have clearly understood applicable signage before making the decision to leave your car on one.

Red Route stopping controls

You may well have come across red single or double lines if you’ve driven around the capital. Throughout London, these Red Route stopping controls restrict activity such as parking, loading, unloading, and boarding a vehicle to licensed taxi drivers and Blue Badge holders only. Once again, the specifics of the restrictions - such as times - will be displayed on nearby signage, so always ensure you check before leaving your vehicle.

Clearways

If you’ve ever passed a blue sign featuring a red cross through the middle, you should know that you’re navigating a clearway, and that stopping is prohibited at any time in such an area.

Mounting the pavement

Parking either partially or fully on a pavement is restricted entirely in London and should not be permitted elsewhere if signs do not explicitly say so. The reason is clear: mounting the pavement with your vehicle can obstruct pedestrians, parents with prams, individuals with visual impairments, and those travelling in a wheelchair. Common sense should prevail in such instances and, with the exception of in London, motorists are seldom punished for committing an offence.

Parking on the road

Finally, you should be aware of the restrictions surrounding parking on the road. As stated in the Highway Code, you should refrain from parking facing against the flow of traffic; avoid parking too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge; and exit the vehicle on the side nearest the kerb. Regardless of where you park, you should be considerate to other road users and pedestrians alike, and always be aware of local restrictions.