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UK Parking Laws Explained


We all want to avoid the expense and annoyance of being one of the millions in the UK who receive a parking ticket issued by traffic wardens. The problem is, it’s not easy to know all of the different rules when it comes to parking.

There are many different signs, some of which indicate yellow lines, red lines and white lines – each of which has its own parking restrictions.

Please read on to learn when and where you can park (without crossing the line).


What's the difference between parking, waiting and stopping?


It can sometimes be confusing to work out what the difference is between 'no stopping' and 'no parking'. The best way to understand the difference between parking and stopping is to get literal.

A 'no stopping' sign, or 'clearway' sign, means no stopping whatsoever - even to drop someone off.

A 'no waiting' or 'no parking' sign lets a driver stop temporarily, maybe to let out a passenger or unload some goods, but you can't linger there.


A guide to where you cannot park


Single Yellow Lines

A single yellow line – either painted on the road or on the kerb – means no waiting, parking, loading or unloading at the times shown on the accompanying sign. Check for any signs which indicate if and when restrictions are lifted during weekends and evenings.

Double Yellow Lines

Unless you hold a Blue Badge indicating that you have a disabled parking permit, you cannot park on double yellow lines. Some areas have special exclusions that allow you to park on the lines at certain times but these will be clearly displayed on street signage. If you can’t see a sign, play it safe and assume the parking ban is in place all day every day. Disabled badge holders are allowed to park on double yellow lines for up to three hours as long as they are not causing an obstruction.

Yellow lines with single or double kerb ‘blip’

Yellow lines off the edge of the kerb indicate a No Loading restriction. They are only used when there is a yellow line restriction already in place. Just like yellow lines that run along the edge of the road, they can be double, which apply all of the time, or single, which apply at the times specified on the nearby sign.

No loading restrictions remove the exemption that normally applies to yellow lines for loading or unloading. Blue badge holders, who normally can park on yellow lines, also cannot park where there is a no loading restriction.


Single red lines – no parking, loading or boarding during times indicated by a sign

Single red lines mean stopping is NOT permitted during the times indicated, which will typically be around the rush hour. All restrictions are shown on nearby signs. The red lines apply to the carriageway, pavement and verge.

Double red lines – no parking, loading or boarding at any time

Double red lines always mean no stopping at any time. The red lines apply to the carriageway, pavement and verge.

Double white line – No parking at any time, except to drop off passengers

Parking where double white lines are in the centre of the road. However, Highway Code 240 stipulates that you must not park on 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 set down passengers or to load or unload goods.

Cycle lane

These are shown by road markings and signs. You must not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line during its time of operation. Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it's avoidable.

Clearways – no parking in the clearway zone between the times on the sign

During the times of operation, motorists should not stop for anything but a very short amount of time on an urban clearway. You may only stop for long enough to pick up or drop off passengers. The rules for stopping on an urban clearway do not apply to lay-bys or official parking bays.

Dropped kerbs, across pavements or verges


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