Parking and yellow lines guide

Last updated September 2 2021

It can be a little confusing understanding where you can and can’t park in the UK, but it’s critical that you follow the laws surrounding parking to avoid causing hazards to other drivers. Even outside of the hazards you can create by parking incorrectly, not knowing the rules indicated by yellow lines can affect you directly if you breach parking law and receive a fine.

To help you stay on the right side of the law (and far away from potential fines), we’ve created this guide to parking rules and yellow line road markings to help you get more clarity on where you can and can’t park.

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Parking, waiting and stopping

First, it’s helpful to understand the writing and shapes that are used on road signs to inform drivers about specific parking rules in an area. Driving around, you’ll see different road signs indicating that an area is either ‘no stopping’, ‘no parking’, or ‘no waiting’.

‘No stopping’ is the strictest instruction out of the three. Seeing a ‘no stopping’ sign in an area means that you can’t stop your car. That includes pulling over to let a passenger in or out of your car.

‘No waiting’ and ‘no parking’ signs also limit your ability to stop your car, but to a lesser extent. In areas with one of these signs, drivers are allowed to temporarily stop to let out a passenger or – if looking at parking in a loading bay – to load or unload goods, but shouldn’t linger there for too long.

It’s important to check the road signs before stopping in any area for your own safety and for everyone else’s, as you could potentially cause a dangerous obstruction.

Yellow lines

Outside of the rules outlined by the signs we’ve covered above, yellow line road markings are the way that parking rules are indicated to drivers. The two most common line road markings for parking instructions are single yellow and double yellow lines.

Single yellow line parking

Single yellow lines next to the kerb mean that you can’t wait or park there between certain hours, indicated by a sign that is usually nearby. However, outside of the times mentioned on the sign you can park on single yellow lines providing that you aren’t causing an obstruction.

Double yellow line parking

Double yellow lines next to the kerb mean that the majority of UK motorists can’t wait or park there at all. However, if you’re a Blue Badge holder, you might be an exception to the rule.

Providing you have a Blue Badge, you can usually wait on double yellow lines for up to three hours as long as you aren’t causing an obstruction. Just be sure to display your badge or else you might find yourself with a fine.

Yellow lines on weekends and bank holidays

Single yellow lines work on a weekly basis, so you still need to adhere to what the sign indicates. For example, if it says ‘No waiting between 8-6 Mon-Sun’ this will still apply even if it is a bank holiday. It’s always best to double check the signs and stick to what they say. Double yellow lines operate under the same restrictions every day.

What do red lines mean?

Unless you live in London, Leeds or certain areas of the West Midlands, you’re unlikely to see red lines. Red lines are much like yellow lines, in that they relate specifically to parking rules, but they operate on a much stricter basis.

Single reds, just like single yellows, are usually paired with a nearby informational sign that outlines the specific parking rules in that area, so check the sign to see what restrictions are in place before parking. They are generally added on roads that have a high traffic volume and intend to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

If you’re in an area with double red lines you shouldn’t stop at any time, even if you hold a Blue Badge.

Urban clearways

An urban clearway is a section of road that is illegal to stop on unless in the event of an emergency. A sign will specify during which hours this is in effect and during the times of operation you are only allowed to stop to pick up or drop off.

There aren’t any road markings to highlight an urban clearway, but instead they will be signposted at the beginning and end. You will usually find these on busy roads.

Alongside urban clearways, there are simply clearways; these indicate that you cannot stop anywhere, at any time.