The subject of where you can and can’t park is more complex than you might think. If it’s been a while since you read the Highway Code, you might have forgotten where you’re not allowed to stop or park. Similarly, you might be in the dark when it comes to parking outside your own home.
Here, we reveal the places you’re not allowed to park, along with a few facts about parking in the UK.
Most drivers are aware that yellow lines relate to parking restrictions, although many choose to ignore the signs. Double yellow lines indicate a prohibition of waiting at ANY TIME, even if there are no upright signs. Basically, you cannot park on double yellow lines.
Things aren’t so clear when it comes to single yellow lines. You MUST NOT wait or park on yellow lines during the times of operation shown on the signs or at the entrance to a Controlled Parking Zone. Often, you’ll find that parking restrictions are lifted overnight or at weekends.
You MUST NOT wait, park, set down or pick up on school entrance markings when upright signs indicate a prohibition of stopping.
Parking by the roadside
The Highway Code says you must use off-street parking areas or bays marked out by white lines whenever possible. If you have to stop by the roadside, you must adhere to the following rules:
- Do not park facing against the traffic flow
- Stop as close as you can to the side of the road
- Do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge
- Do not park in spaces reserved for Blue Badge holders, residents or motorcycles
There are specific rules regarding parking partially or wholly on the pavement. Click here for more information.
Where you MUST NOT stop or park
The Highway Code goes on to list the following places where you MUST NOT stop or park:
- The carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency
- A pedestrian crossing, including the zig-zag lines
- A clearway
- Taxi bays
- An Urban Clearway during its hours of operation
- A road marked with double white lines in the middle, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road. The exception is to pick up or set down passengers, or to load and unload goods
- A tram or cycle lane during its hours of operation
- A cycle track
- Red lines, unless otherwise indicated by signs
Other parking restrictions
Rule 243 of the Highway Code says DO NOT stop or park in the following places:
- Near a school entrance
- Anywhere you would prevent access for emergency services
- At or near a bus/tram stop or taxi rank
- On the approach to a level crossing or tramway crossing
- Opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
- Near the brow of a hill or humpback bridge
- Opposite a traffic island or another parked vehicle
- Where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane
- Where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
- In front of an entrance to a property
- On a bend
- Where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities
EXCEPT when forced to do so by stationary traffic.
What happens if someone parks on your driveway?
Although you’re not allowed to park in front of an entrance to a property, there’s nothing to stop someone parking outside your house. Hannah Parsons, a solicitor at DAS Law, says: “A homeowner has no special legal right to park directly outside their property. All road users have the same right to park anywhere on the public highway as long as they do not contravene parking restrictions.”
Things aren’t so clear cut when it comes to parking on a driveway. As Hannah Parsons explains, it’s not a criminal offence.
“If a vehicle is parked on your driveway without your permission, they are trespassing. As trespass is a civil and not criminal offence, the police will not always get involved. At most, they may send an officer to try and determine the owner of the vehicle and ask them to move it.”
Once the car is on a driveway, it’s technically on private property – where the local council has no jurisdiction. A council will remove an abandoned car from private or public property, but if the vehicle is taxed, insured and has a valid MOT they’re unlikely to touch it.
Taking revenge by blocking the car in question isn’t recommended. Hannah Parsons says: “If someone has parked on your driveway and you were to block them in, your vehicle may be causing an obstruction to the public highway and this is a criminal offence. The owner of the vehicle could therefore call the police.”
This is a view shared by Paul Watters of the AA. He warns: “Frustrating though this may be, what you can’t do is pop a line of cones on the road outside. You’re then committing a criminal offence because they could cause an accident.
“This counts as obstruction and a penalty charge could be issued.”
Penalties for illegal parking
The Traffic Management Act 2004 was introduced to tackle congestion and disruption on the road network. It gives local authorities more power to manage parking policies, coordinate street works and enforce some moving traffic offences.
A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) might be enforced and issued through the civil rather than the criminal justice system. The fine may be either £70 or £50, depending on the impact of the offence.
The PCN is discounted by 50 percent to £35 or £25 if paid within 14 days of receiving the ticket. If the fine is left unpaid, the local authority can pursue the debt through the County Court.
For more motoring hints and tips, check out our advice section.