Yellow box junctions: how to avoid a penalty

Stopping in a yellow box junction could land you with a £130 fine. We explain the rules – including a video – so you can stay legal and safe.

Yellow box junctionYellow box junctions can catch drivers unawares – and result in a hefty fine. Many are monitored by enforcement cameras, which can automatically process penalties.

Our guide will help you obey the rules and avoid a £130 charge.

Most yellow box junctions are found in urban areas, where tailbacks can block opposing traffic flow. Until recently, only local councils in London and Cardiff could issue fines for ‘moving traffic violations’. However, drivers across the UK now face the same rules. 

According to research by the RAC, eight in 10 drivers say they struggle to drive cleanly through yellow box junctions. And nearly half admit to getting stuck in them accidentally, with one in three blaming other law-breaking motorists for their infringement.

Breaking the rules of yellow box junctions

An investigation by Click4Reg found that London councils earned up to £520,000 from moving traffic violations every day. The City of London borough issued nearly 200,000 penalties in 2017-2018, raking in almost £25 million as a result.

Read on for the facts about yellow box junctions.

Yellow box junctions: what you need to know

What is the point of a yellow box junction?

A box junction keeps traffic flowing by marking out an area of road space that should be kept clear at all times.

When can I drive into a yellow box junction?

You are only meant to enter a box junction if your exit is clear – in other words, if you can drive all the way through it without stopping.

Am I ever allowed to stop in a yellow box junction?

If you are turning right, you can stop in a box junction if oncoming traffic prevents you from doing so – but only if your exit is clear.

What is the penalty for stopping in a yellow box junction?

You can be fined up to £130 for unlawfully stopping in a yellow box. 

Will I get points on my licence for breaking yellow box rules?

No, you will not receive penalty points on your driving licence for a yellow box offence.

Why do people get wound up about yellow box junctions?

Motorists get annoyed with box junction transgressors because everyone else gets blocked, along with the offending driver. It is considered one of the more ‘selfish’ motoring offences.

I think I remember something about them from my driving test…

Well remembered! Yellow box junctions are covered by rule 174 of the Highway Code.

Watch: how to use a yellow box junction

RAC spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Our research shows yellow box junctions are a very divisive issue with drivers.

“There is a strong feeling that many junctions are not set up fairly, which leads to drivers having no choice but stop in them, whether that’s due to poor traffic light sequencing, poor design or being used in the wrong place.

The RAC adds that authorities should carefully analyse every box junction before installing a camera, to confirm it’s possible to drive through without stopping.


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Richard Aucock
I'm director at Motoring Research. I run a bit, cycle a bit, have a huge love for the automotive industry.


  1. “Until recently, only local councils in London and Cardiff could issue fines for ‘moving traffic violations’. However, drivers across the UK now face the same rules.”

    Hi – do you have a source for the rest fo UK facing same rules?

  2. I have an issue with TWO yellow box areas at a junction in Enfield. I very briefly straddled the end edge of the 2nd one for 15 secs, having cleared the first box. I’ve got a fine!!! If I’d stopped in the unmarked area BETWEEN the two yellow boxes, although this would have totally ‘blocked’ the entire road junction, it would apparently have been legal… !! seems utterly bizarre. Why is the whole area not a yellow box, making it very clear? Do I appeal to an adjudicator?

  3. Hello JS,
    SNAP! I recently suffered the exact same problem. A box junction is supposed to control different flows of traffic and so they are usually at crossroads to prevent gridlock. The second box junction that you mention [as you head towards Enfield town Station] seems to serve no purpose at all, as ALL of the traffic goes through it in the same direction! And you are completely correct when you say that stopping between the two box junctions would definitely block traffic that is passing along [towards the Enfield council civic building (Silver st)].
    At the present time the road beyond the second box junction is under construction works and so the two lanes have become reduced to one. This means that it is very difficult to gauge the position of where traffic will be if you are starting from behind the FIRST box junction (parallel, say, to the pub/Nandos).
    I have requested a video of the alleged contravention and will be taking the matter up with the adjudicator .

  4. Could anyone tell me if theres a sign to tell u theres a yellow box on floor..f traffic is heavy with buses ..u are unfamiliar with area …
    A bus had broken down. Had hazard lights on…I went round and ended up in a box.. traffic in front was stationary at lights m


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