August 18, 2022

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WHETHER you are on a road trip, visiting friends or driving into town for Christmas...

WHETHER you are on a road trip, visiting friends or driving into town for Christmas shopping, you will usually need to find somewhere to park.

Here is how to avoid being driven mad when parking your car – and avoid a pricey parking ticket to boot.


Parking your car where you are not allowed could leave you with a hefty fineCredit: Getty

Shopping centres and retail parks may have spaces for your vehicle but otherwise you need somewhere to park legally or could face a hefty fine.

The colour of the line – red, yellow or white lines – as well as the day or time can mean different rules, making it tricky to find a place to leave your motor safely and legally.

Parking your car where you are not allowed, such in a restricted area, outside of certain hours or on double yellow or red lines could leave you with a penalty charge notice (PCN).

A PCN can be up to £70 outside London and up to £130 in the capital, according to the AA.

The fine is usually halved if you pay within 14 days.

Here is how to know where you can and cannot park.

Yellow lines

From single to double and even vertical, yellow lines are painted across the UK’s road network.

A yellow line can make it hard to find somewhere to park.

You can only park or wait during certain periods on a single yellow line.

There will usually be a nearby sign that displays when you cannot park.

Times may vary depending on the day and location.

The rules are stricter for double yellow lines.

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In most cases, it is illegal to park on a double yellow line.

The Highway Code says double yellow lines indicate “a prohibition of waiting at any time even if there are no upright signs.”

Yellow zigzags may be painted outside schools, hospitals and emergency services locations.

Cars are not allowed to be parked on these.

Drivers may sometimes see yellow lines painted on the edge of the kerb.

The AA explains that if these are in pairs it means there is no loading or unloading at any time.

If they are single lines then there are usually restrictions on when you can and can’t stop to load or unload items.

You will need to check nearby signs to confirm the restrictions.

Red lines

Parts of the road where there is lots of traffic may have red lines.

These are known as red routes and are often on bus lanes.

If you spot a single red line, that usually means you can only park at certain times that will be signposted.

Parking is never allowed on double red lines.

White lines or zigzags

A solid unbroken white line indicates that no parking is allowed.

Similarly, there may also be a zigzag white line leading up to a zebra or pedestrian crossing, where parking also isn’t allowed.

Near junctions

Drivers must not park with 10 meteres of a junction unless in a designated bay that allows parking.

Car website AutoExpress said: “Parking so close to a junction forces other vehicles into an unsafe position on the approach or departure from the junction, and your vehicle will also obscure the view out of a junction for other road users, potentially putting them in danger of a collision.”

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A clearway

A clearway is shown by a sign displaying a red circle with a red cross and a blue background.

This is usually a busy traffic area that should not be blocked and must be kept clear.

Taxi rank

An empty taxi rank may look like a tempting place to park your car but these are not spaces for the public.

You could be fined and may also have to deal with angry taxi drivers.

Cycle lanes

Cars are not supposed to drive on cycle lanes as they are meant to keep cyclists separate and safe on the road but parking rules are less clear.

You may be able to park on a cycle lane depending on if there is a single or double yellow line and any displayed time restrictions.


Drivers in London can be fined or have their car towed if they park on the pavement in the capital.

Elsewhere, you will have to check for nearby signs and marked bays as you could be fined if parking during a restricted time.

Resident permit bays

You may be able to find a sneaky spot on a side road.

But check if there are any residential restrictions.

Parking may not be allowed without a permit during certain times and days and you could be fined for leaving your car.

Parking meters

Check if you have to pay to park in a bay during certain hours.

The times you are allowed to park and when you need to pay will usually be displayed on a white sign near the parking bays.

It may also be sown on a nearby meter.

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You could be fined if you fail to pay for and display a parking ticket.

Some areas may also give you half an hour of free parking but you will still need to display a ticket from the parking meter on your dashboard or window.

Blue badges

Blue Badge holders can usually park on single and double yellow lines for up to three hours.

But check with the local council as some such as London boroughs may have extra restrictions for parking on double yellow lines.

Some red routes may have designated disabled parking bays, otherwise you can only park outside of the restricted hours.

You should always display your Blue Badge clearly in your car so a parking warden can check it.

Drivers who incorrectly park in a disabled bay can be fined.

Sunday and Bank Holiday parking

Some drivers may mistakenly believe they can park anywhere on a Sunday or Bank Holiday.

But experts warn that restrictions can still apply depending on local signs.

There have been reports of people getting parking fines on Boxing Day.

There are other reasons that drivers could be fined beyond just parking.

You could be landed with a £60 fine and three penalty points for failing to scrape ice off your windscreen.

If you do not meet the minimum eyesight requirements, you could face a £1,000 fine or a driving ban.

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