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Parking laws: All the rules and regulations

There are so many parking rules and restrictions that it can be hard to keep up or understand which is which.

Parking is always one of those things in life that can cause unnecessary stress, especially if you're trying to park somewhere you are not too familiar with.

It's difficult to drive along while also keeping your eyes peeled for a spot, and if you find one, you also have to try to find out if you are able to park there, and if you will incur any charges to do so.

It can become extremely frustrating, particularly if you are in a rush and have found yourself driving around the same few streets for quite a while.

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But it's definitely worth keeping your cool and not just parking in the first space you find as there could be a hefty fine coming your way if you're not careful.

We've taken a look at the most common questions asked about parking, to help you have a better idea of what you can and can't do.

Parking on residential streets

There are no rules against parking here unless there is a sign that says otherwise. 

Of course, you need to be mindful of any lines that may be on the road and that you're not blocking anyone's drive, but normally it's fair game.

Overstaying your time

If you are parked in a council car park or on a regulated street, then you will be given an extra 10 minutes beyond when your time expires to return to your vehicle.

This rule has been in play since 2015 but does not apply to privately run car parks.

Always be sure to buy a ticket though, as there will be no leeway if a warden spots your car parked and you haven't paid for the privilege to be there.

Single yellow lines

You can't park on single yellow lines during the hours of control, and specific times vary by location. You will be able to see when these times are via signs that will be nearby to enforce the rule.

Outside of these times, you can park unless there are kerb markings.

Even if there are times enforced, you should still be okay to stop to pick up or drop off if you're only going to be there a couple of minutes.

no-parking

Double yellow lines

It's best to be cautious with double yellows and avoid parking on them where possible. 

In some instances, you can drop off and pick up while on them, but you should probably keep driving and look for a better option, just to be safe.

Red lines

These are typically found on busy roads and in city centres to stop people parking on them and causing more congestion than there already is.

You should aim to completely avoid these as it's very unlikely you'll be able to park on them at any time.

Parking opposite a junction

Put simply, it is illegal, and you could be fined up to £100 if caught parked within 30 feet of one.

The reason being that you could be obstructing other road users and ultimately puts everyone at more risk of having an accident.

Unsighted drivers pulling out of a junction may plow straight into the back of your vehicle if you are too close.

Free parking on Bank Holidays

This is quite a grey area as you'd expect most parking spots to be free on national holidays. 

However, it's worth double-checking any signs you see nearby before committing to parking there.

If there is no free parking available, the likelihood is there will be a warden on patrol, so it's not worth the risk.

Not paying a parking fine

If you don't pay a penalty charge notice within 28 days, the cost of the fine could increase by 50%. If however, you paid it within 14 days of receiving it, it could decrease by 50%.

If you continue to refuse to pay, the authority who issued the ticket could seek legal action.

If you receive a fixed penalty notice, then the police could prosecute you and give you a criminal record, as well as making you pay a heftier fine and possibly court fees.

Appealing a parking ticket

You are within your rights to appeal a parking ticket if you believe it was issued incorrectly or unfairly.

But it's critical that you support your claim with evidence, using images on your phone with timestamps to prove your innocence.

Times when you may have grounds to appeal are:

  • The parking signs were unclear.
  • The machines were out of order or there was no way to pay via your phone.
  • You couldn't get back to your car for whatever reason.
  • You were only a couple of minutes over your time.

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Car clamping

Police, the DVLA, and local authorities have the right to clamp your vehicle if they believe you have no tax or insurance. 

But you can't be clamped on private land or by vigilantes you believe you have parked illegally.

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