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Where’s the safest place to park your car at night?

| Insurance

Cars are valuable machines that not only help you get from place to place when you need to, but also allow you to keep your independence and freedom. For these reasons, it’s likely that you do what you can to keep it safe - you pay for car insurance to cover you should an accident occur, and have it serviced to ensure it’s running smoothly. But what can be done to keep it safe while it’s parked at night? There are some small things that you can do to make your car a little bit safer at nighttime.

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.

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 extreme weather. 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 prevent these things from occurring.

Once your car has been parked up, it’s important to keep the keys safe too. It’s a good idea to put them somewhere they aren’t visible, such as a key safe, a cupboard or in a drawer. Keys that allow for keyless entry emit a signal, but special pouches can be purchased to block this signal and prevent anyone from copying it to gain access to the car. You can check this guide on stolen car keys to find out more information around keeping your keys safe.

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.

Street parking is very common, particularly in cities or 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. Street parking tends to be a free-for-all, and people will park wherever they can find a space, but by leaving your car close to your house, it will be easier for you to monitor it.

Strangely, parking on busier roads may be better 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 find a busier road that has good lighting.

Can I park in front of my house?

Even if you have a driveway, you can 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 permanently instead of on your driveway, this is a detail that should be communicated to your insurance provider.

Can I buy a parking space outside my house?

Currently, you cannot buy a parking space outside your house. While this may be desirable for those that live in areas with on street parking only, it’s not a valid option. You can have a designated disabled space allocated for you if you qualify, and white lines are drawn onto the road to show that only you can park there. You could contact your local council to find out if you’re eligible for a designated disabled parking space.

Can I park on the pavement?

Parking on the pavement is a tricky subject. In London, it is prohibited and could land you with a £70 fine if you were to ignore the rules. Outside of London, there isn’t currently a law that stops you from parking on a pavement, however the Department for Transport (DfT) have recently announced that it may be brought into force in the rest of England. 

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 dangerous.

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.

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.

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