Where’s the safest place to park your car at night?
7 minute read
Cars not only help you get from place to place when you need to but can also provide independence and freedom. Having your car regularly serviced helps ensure its smooth running, and paying for car insurance gives you cover in the event of an accident or damage - but what else can you do to protect it, especially while it's parked overnight? Here are some steps you can take to keep your car safer during the evenings.
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Where should you park your vehicle at night?
No two houses are the same, from terraced houses with street parking to detached homes that have a private driveway. But no matter where you live, you want to make sure that you’re doing what you can to protect your car at night.
If you have access to one, a garage is one of the best and safest places to keep a car. Not only is it out of sight, but it can also help to protect your car from the elements. The cold can have an impact on a vehicle’s battery and sun exposure can cause the tyres to dry out and crack over time, as well as potentially damaging your car’s paintwork - so a garage should help prevent these things from occurring.
A private driveway
For homes without a garage, the next best place to park your car is on a private driveway. When your vehicle is off the road, it’s safe from passing vehicles that could damage it as they drive by. Driveways are also an ideal place as motion-activated lights, streetlights, smart doorbells with camera monitoring and other forms of security make it easy for you to keep an eye on your vehicle.
A private carpark
If you live within an apartment complex, assisted living or retirement community you may have access to a secure or private car park. With some requiring a pass code or fob to access, and possibly CCTV, this would be a secure environment to leave your car overnight.
Street parking is very common, particularly in cities or beside older terraced houses. When you have to park your car on the street, you should try to ensure that it’s in a well-lit place, ideally under a streetlight or as close to one as possible. Though it’s not always an option, you should try and park as near to your house as you can. Free on-street parking can be a bit of a free-for-all, as people will park wherever they can find a space; but if you're lucky enough to secure a spot by your home it'll be much easier for you to monitor it.
Perhaps unexpectedly, parking on busier roads may be safer than quieter ones. Although you may think that there’s more chance of the vehicle getting damaged, a car is more likely to be stolen from a quiet, dimly lit road, so where possible find a busier road with good lighting.
Can I park in front of my house?
Even if you have a driveway, you may still choose to park in front of your house. Just be aware that it is a public space, and therefore other people also have the right to park there, as long as there aren't yellow lines or a dropped kerb.
If you choose to park on the road regularly instead of on your driveway, this is a detail that should be communicated to your insurance provider as where you park your car at night affects your insurance risk and can change the cost of your insurance premium.
Can I buy a parking space outside my house?
While it's perhaps desirable for those that live in areas with on street parking only, you cannot currently buy a parking space on public roads outside your house. However, if your local area has designated off road parking, you can contact your local council to find out more about parking schemes and permit applications.
You can request to have a disabled space designated near your home if you qualify for one. White lines will be drawn onto the road to mark the area as only available to those with a Blue Badge - though anyone with this permit is entitled to park there, even if it's directly outside your home.
Can I park on the pavement?
Parking on the pavement is a complicated subject. In London, it is prohibited and could land you with a fine up to £70 if you were to ignore the rules. There are only two exceptions of this ban:
1. When a sign with the parking “P” and showing a car parked on the footway is visible.
2. For loading or unloading when there is no other way the delivery or collection could be made.
Outside of London, there isn’t currently a law that stops you from parking on a pavement. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said that it may consider bringing this rule into force in the rest of England at some point in the future.
Blocking pavements can be frustrating for pedestrians and in some cases means that they have to walk in the road. For parents with pushchairs or people with certain disabilities or in wheelchairs, this can be especially dangerous.
How to use street parking safely
The Highway Code says that you shouldn’t leave a car parked where it can cause “unnecessary obstruction”. Therefore, where possible, try to park with all four wheels on the road, ensuring there’s enough space for cars to get past as they’re driving along. You may also want to tuck in your wing mirrors to prevent damage but also to allow pedestrians to pass easily and safely.
Keys that allow for keyless entry emit a signal which is very useful but can come with risks. Thieves are able to amplify the signal used to gain access to the car, but special pouches can be purchased that block the signal. You can check this guide on stolen car keys to find out more information around keeping your keys safe.
Generally, when parking your car, the best thing to do is use your common sense. Try to avoid parking it where the car could become an obstruction, such as on a junction or on the pavement, and consider lighting amongst other things to help keep it safe at night.
To find out more about keeping your car safe and in good condition, visit our Useful Article section. Our team of experts have put together a range of helpful guides for motorists looking to get more out of later life.