The rules on where you are allowed to park

Carlton Boyce / 29 April 2016 ( 12 April 2018 )

Are you ever allowed to park on double yellow lines? Read our up-to-date guide to parking restrictions and regulations.



While we probably all realise that parking on double-yellow lines is a no-no, there are plenty of areas where the restrictions are less clear. 

We’ve been digging into the confusing world of parking regulations to bring you an up-to-date guide to what is, and what isn’t, allowed!

Guide to parking markings

Single yellow line – parking is allowed at certain times, but you must check the signs for details.

Double yellow line – no parking at any time.

Yellow line with single kerb marking – there are additional restrictions in place on loading or unloading between the times shown.

Yellow line with double kerb marking – no loading or unloading is allowed.

Double white line – no parking other than to drop off passengers.

Single red line – no parking or loading (including dropping off or collecting passengers) between the times shown.

Double red line – no parking or unloading at any time.

Clearway – restrictions will be shown on the sign.

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Nor can you park:

• In a cycle lane;

• On the hard shoulder of a motorway;

• In a bus stop or tramway;

• On a pedestrian crossing, including the zigzags either side of it;

• The yellow zigzags outside a school;

• Within ten metres of a junction; or

• Across a dropped kerb - even if it's your own.

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Unusual parking regulations

There are a number of parking regulations that you might not be aware of. Here are the most common:

Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position 

You are risking a £1000 fine plus three penalty points on your driving licence or even disqualification if you leave a car or trailer in a position that causes a risk of injury to other people using the road. Examples might be parking on a blind bend or on a humpback bridge.

Obstructing the highway or road 

The act here has to be deliberate and could include doing a U-turn in a busy street or parking so close to another car that it cannot move and then refusing to move when asked to do so.

Abandoning a vehicle

Abandoning a vehicle doesn’t only mean that the council can remove it and dispose of it, it also leaves you vulnerable to a £2500 fine or three months’ imprisonment.

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Parking at night

If you park on a highway at night, you must park the nearside, or left-hand-side, of the car as close as possible to the edge of the road.

You must park within 50cm of the kerb 

Designed to stop double-parking, you might face action if your poor parking leaves your car too far into the road.

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Carlton Boyce

If you enjoy Carlton's inimitable style of writing, you'll love his motoring column - to have each one delivered straight to your door every month, subscribe to Saga Magazine today!

Parking urban myths

There are a number of parking myths, including:

You can park on a double-yellow line for a few minutes – BUSTED

There is no grace period for parking, although loading and unloading might be acceptable. This will depend on what restrictions are in place and whether the item being loaded is easily portable. As an example, a loaf of bread or your morning paper is easily carried so there is no need for you to stop on a yellow line to collect it!

Blue badge holders can park anywhere – BUSTED

While more latitude is given to the holders of a Blue Badge, holding one does not give carte blanche to park anywhere. You are generally limited to a maximum of three hours when parked on a single or double yellow line, and you could still face prosecution if you are parked dangerously or causing an obstruction.

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As long as my wheels are within the yellow lines, then I’m safe – TRUE

It’s the position of the wheels that count, not whether your car overhangs a parking space or not.

You can park anywhere on a bank holiday – BUSTED

Council parking attendants work on bank holidays and weekends specifically to prevent bad parking causing congestion when the roads are at their busiest.

You can park on double yellow lines if they are obscured by snow or fallen leaves – POSSIBLE

While parking regulations aren’t suspended during heavy snow, the fact that the lines were obscured might give rise to a successful defence.

However, if the vertical parking signs were visible this defence would probably fail as you would still be aware that parking was prohibited.

Your parking questions answered

What does a single white line along the side of the road signify, in terms of parking? Roger, via email

After a bit of detective work, the team at Saga haven't been able to find anything concrete about whether or not you can park on a single white line. 

A white line can be used to indicate the edge of the road in cases where the lighting isn't sufficient, and if there is no pavement next to it then you mustn't park.

However, if the white line is next to a pavement, the general consensus is that the white line isn't legally enforceable in itself, but indicates that you might cause an obstruction if you park there - so you might end up getting a ticket for obstruction rather than because you've parked on the white line. 

People can pay the council to paint the white lines in front of their house to try to discourage people parking there, but whether this is a legally enforceable parking ban seems woolly.

From my research, I wouldn't want to advise either way, but personally I won't be parking on a white line just in case! If you're determined to park, be extra vigilant about looking for parking restriction signs, not obstructing driveways, and not parking too close to a junction (but then, you'd be careful of that anyway!)

Answered by Amanda, Saga's motoring editor.

Do you have an opinion on whether you can park on a single white line? Or have you heard of a parking myth you’d like us to look into? If so, we’d love to hear from you - ask via Facebook or email web.editor@saga.co.uk and we’ll investigate on your behalf!

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