Parking guide: Where you should and shouldn’t stop!

Parking Guide

Have you ever left your car in an area assuming it’s okay to park there? Have you parked your car without a permit and thought ‘it’ll be alright’? These are things we’ve all probably done at some point for one reason or another. Without realising you may have parked your car illegally or in an unsafe place, leaving your vehicle vulnerable. We know how hard it can be to find suitable parking spaces in towns and busy city areas and if you’re in a rush to get somewhere it can be a nightmare having to find somewhere to leave your car. We have written a blog highlighting the rules of the road when it comes to parking your car. Read the below to find out more.

Basic parking rules

Obviously in large car parks it can be easier to park as there’s often more car parking spaces to choose from. There’s often three different types of spaces found in car parks, standard spaces with the letter ‘P’, disabled parking and parent and child spaces.

Now parking in either blue badge spaces or parents and child spaces without a valid reason could be seen as very unethical but is it illegal? The answer is no. Although If the car park is privately owned then parking in certain spaces could result in a fine being issued depending on the rules of the car park company. Rules of the car park will be displayed on a sign within the car park.

If the car park is council-run, parking wardens from the council have the right to issue a fine to drivers who don’t obey the rules.

What qualifies you to park in a parent, child space/family space?

There is no general rule of thumb for parking in these type of spaces, however many supermarkets say parents who have children up to 12 years old who have a child seat can park in the specific spaces.

Where you can’t park

It’s probably been a while since you took your driving test and therefore haven’t recited the Highway Code since you were learning. With this in mind, here at the main places you should avoid parking your car.

Single yellow lines

Do you know the difference between single and double yellow lines? Single yellow lines are painted on the road accompanied by a sign. The line means that drivers cannot park, load or unload or wait during the times displayed on the sign. The restrictions can change at certain times of the week, for example there may be parking allowed on the single yellow lines during the evening and weekend however it’s always best to check the sign before parking your car. Blue badge holders are allowed to park on single yellow lines for a maximum of three hours as long as signs don’t state otherwise and parking must not cause disruption for other drivers, i,e blocking the road.

Double yellow lines

A double yellow line is also painted on the road and it doesn’t allow parking at any time on a set part of the road. Unloading and loading may be allowed depending on whether there are restrictions against it which would be displayed on a sign or on the kerb. Just like single yellow lines, blue badge holders are able to park on double yellow lines for a maximum of three hours unless stated otherwise on a sign and parking must not cause disruption.

Red route stopping controls

In larger cities like London, red lines are used in replacement of the yellow lines and come in both single and double lines. Red Routes do not permit parking, loading or unloading or to get in and out of your car with the exception of licensed taxis or Blue Badge holders.


Have you ever seen a blue circle sign with a red cross? Do you remember what it means? Well this sign represents a clearway, which ensures no stopping at any time. It indicates a clearway for 24 hours and some signs include a ‘No stopping message’.

What to look for

Yellow zig-zags

If you live near a school you’ve probably seen yellow zig-zag lines before. These are found outside schools, hospitals and fire, police and ambulance stations. They indicate a part of the road which is restricted from stopping or waiting.

Where not to stop or park!

If you ever doubt whether a place is safe to park, it’s probably best to avoid the risk. Here’s a list of places you should avoid.

  • A tram or cycle lane during its period of operation
  • A cycle track
  • Taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and marking
  • The carriageway of the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency
  • An urban clearway within its hours of operation, except to pick up or set down passengers
  • A road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or drop off passengers or to load or unload goods

Parking on the pavement

Part of the Highway Code states that you must not park on the pavement in London, even if it’s partially, unless there is a sign that allows it. London drivers that choose to park on the pavement are committing a punishable offence and could receive a parking ticket. In other parts of the UK, there is no current law to suggest parking on the pavement is an offence, however it’s worth thinking about others when you park. Parking on a pavement can obstruct pedestrians and cause disruption when blocking parts of the path.

Parking on the road

When looking for a place to park in busy areas like city centres and towns, you’re often left with no choice but to park on the road. The Highway Code have provided some key rules and tips when parking on the road:


  • Your engine, headlights and fog lights should be switched off
  • The handbrake must be applied before leaving your car
  • Check for cyclists or other traffic before opening your door

Tips for safer parking

  • Do not park facing against the traffic flow
  • Stop as close to the side of the road as you can
  • Do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a blue badge as the owner may need more room to get in and out

What’s the cost?

It’s always worth familiarising yourself with where you can and can’t park as the last thing you want is a parking ticket. The Penalty Charge Notice (PNC) is £90, however if you pay within 14 days, there is a 50% discount and a fine could be reduced £45. If the PCN is not paid within 28 days, a Notice to Owner is issued to the registered keeper of the car. This gives the driver another 28 days to pay the fine. If the fine is still not paid in this time, it could increase to £135!

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