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A guide to parking on yellow lines

| Insurance

Driving a car and keeping up the relevant maintenance isn’t necessarily cheap. As a car owner, you have to pay the cost of road tax so you can drive on public roads, fuel so you can keep the vehicle running and car insurance to cover you should an accident occur. One thing you don’t want to have to pay is a parking fine. To avoid receiving one, follow the rules below around parking on yellow lines and when it can and can’t be done.

Double yellow lines

It’s likely that you’ve seen double yellow lines in city centres, outside shop fronts, near junctions and in many more places on UK roads, but what do they mean?

Can you park on a double yellow line?

Double yellow lines are there to prevent you from parking in a certain place or waiting for any period of time. However, whether you can park, stop, wait or unload on double yellows is dependent on other signs and notices around you, which can make the rules confusing.

Firstly, it can help to know the difference between parking, stopping and waiting. While these might all mean similar things, knowing the distinctions could stop you from getting a fine for parking in the wrong place. Parking usually refers to stopping the vehicle and getting out to leave it there for a period of time. Waiting means that you have parked the car without getting out of it, perhaps you have even left the engine running, and are waiting to pick someone up, for example. Stopping refers to coming at a standstill, so a sign that says ‘no stopping’, for example, means you cannot pull over to pick someone up.

Generally, you should assume that you cannot stop, wait or park on double yellow lines at any time, however there are some exceptions to this rule. If there is a sign located next to the road with certain times on, it often means that you can stop during these times. 

Occasionally, you might notice two shorter lines running in the opposite direction to the longer lines and going onto the pavement, like in the image below.

 

These are known as blips and also mean that you cannot park, wait or load/unload here at any time.

You cannot park on double yellows on Sundays or bank holidays, and many people make this mistake or think that the rules don’t apply on these days, so don’t get caught out.

Can blue badge holders park on double yellow lines?

The rules around parking on double yellow lines do differ slightly for drivers who hold a blue badge, also known as a disabled badge. Badge holders can park on yellow lines (single and double) for up to three hours at a time. However, where there are blips on the road that show no loading or unloading at any time, drivers with a blue badge cannot park there.

Before assuming that you definitely can park on double yellows, you should check with your local council to see what the regulations are. It may be the case that you can park on blips or cannot park in certain areas of London, for example. 

Who enforces parking on double yellow lines?

Parking in places you shouldn’t is generally enforced by your local council. They employ traffic wardens (their official name is Civil Enforcement Officers) to monitor illegal parking. This doesn’t just include parking on yellow lines but parking in a space for longer than allowed. For instance, some parking spaces are up to 30 minutes. A traffic warden is there to ensure that the driver returns to their car within this allotted time.

Single yellow lines

There are slightly different rules for single yellow lines to double yellows, and it’s important to know the difference so that you don’t accidentally break any parking rules. 

When can you park on a single yellow line?

Many people think that they can park on a single yellow line and that the rules aren’t as strict compared to double yellows. However, you should still avoid parking or waiting in these spots.

Where there is a single yellow line, you might see a sign similar to the one pictured below. It shows the times that you cannot park, wait or stop, but outside of these times, parking is generally ok.

 

 This sign is telling you no parking, stopping or waiting at all between the hours of 8am and 6pm between Monday and Saturday, but that you can park from 6.01pm until 7.59am on these days. It also means you can do this on Sundays too. These signs may also state how long you can park for, such as one hour or up to three hours, etc. 

Parking on a single yellow line is generally okay at evenings and weekends, but do check this before parking to avoid a fine.

How long can you park on a single yellow line?

Each local council has different rules around parking on single yellow lines, so it may be best to check with them before assuming you can park on one. There isn’t generally one set time frame that says how long you can park on a single yellow line. Usually, there will be a white sign nearby that gives you this information.

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