Finding somewhere to park can be a major headache for drivers. Whether you’re on the school run, going shopping, or just trying to park outside your house, it can often be a struggle to find somewhere to park that doesn’t cost the earth and is close to your destination.
There are so many rules surrounding parking, many written in confusing language and situated halfway up a pole. These rules aren’t covered on your driving test, and many drivers remain baffled by these cryptic signs for years after they pass. We’ve come up with a quick guide to help you find places to park and avoid a hefty fine.
The single line
Single lines come in two colours; red and yellow. Here’s what each colour means in terms of parking regulations:
You cannot park, stop to load/unload or pick up/drop off passengers. These rules apply during certain hours (specified on nearby signs), but outside of these times you’re free to park.
You cannot park on this road during certain controlled times, which should be noted on a sign nearby. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking these times are standardised across all single yellow line areas!
Again, these lines are either red or yellow. As a general rule, you can’t park on either of these line colours.
Loading/unloading is permitted in most areas with double yellow lines (except where a traffic obstruction is caused). Blue badge holders are also allowed to park in these areas for up to three hours, unless stated otherwise.
With red lines, there’s no stopping at any time.
Councils often create permit parking zones in residential areas or near places of work. You must apply and pay for a permit on an annual basis in order to use a space in these zones.
You should display your permit securely in a place that’s visible to the warden (such as the windscreen or dashboard), and put the renewal date in your diary to make sure don’t get caught out.
Pay-and-display does exactly what it says on the tin. Turn up to a public car park, pay for the amount of time you intend to stay (or, collect a ticket to log your time later), then put your ticket somewhere visible.
Parking is often discounted – even free – outside of peak times. So, if you’re arriving in the evening or another quiet time, check on the sign to see whether you’re eligible for a discounted rate.
While some of these car parks are run by local councils, most are owned by private companies who will try to charge you an absolute packet if you contravene any of their regulations. If you receive a letter from a private company, remember that this doesn’t amount to a traffic offence. It’s just an invoice written in a tone that’s meant to scare you into paying up. If you think the letter has been wrongly issued, call them up and argue your case.
Tips for finding somewhere to park:
• Think of others. Don’t block entrances, bus stops or park across two bays
• Watch your wheels – If you’re parking in a designated spot (i.e. residents’ or pay-and-display bay) make sure your wheels are fully inside the lines
• Avoid parking on the pavement, but stay close to the kerb. Too far out and you could lose a wing-mirror, or even get a ticket for obstructing traffic
• Councils rules on bank holiday parking vary by region. Most still apply, but check your council’s website or the ticket machine to be sure
• “No return” means you can’t come back to that particular space within the stated timeframe
• Try not to park on bends or the tops of hills as it can cause issues with visibility
• Don’t park within ten metres of a junction
Try these handy tips to make parking more straightforward and stay one step ahead of those pesky traffic wardens.
If you’re on the lookout for a brand new car that will turn heads in the car park, call on your local Perrys dealership today.