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5th October 2020

Parking on yellow lines – what you can and can’t do

It can get confusing when trying to understand where you can and can’t park, especially on road markings such as yellow lines, due to the various exceptions and exclusions that exist. We’re here to give you the information and clarity you need around parking on yellow lines and other road markings.

Single yellow line parking

Single yellow line rules state that drivers are allowed to park on them, but only during certain time periods. There is no universal time period for parking on yellow lines and this is where some drivers may end up confused on the rules.

Each street and town can operate differently, having different time periods and limits than others. Whereas most restrictions apply during peak hours or on weekdays, you’ll be able to find out the exact limits by looking for signs at the kerbside. In some controlled parking areas, there won’t be signs on each street, but simply at the start of the area. So if you’re having trouble finding a sign on the street, it’s likely there will be on at the start of the zone.

It’s also worth noting that if the sign doesn’t display what days of the week the restrictions apply, they’ll be active on the same time each day of the week.

Double yellow line parking

Parking or waiting on double yellow lines is generally prohibited. As per section 238-252 of The Highway Code “Double yellow lines indicate a prohibition of waiting at any time even if there are no upright signs”.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Some areas may have special exceptions to this rule which allow for parking or waiting on double yellow lines, within that area, for a period of time. These will be displayed clearly by signs in that area. If you can’t see any signs suggesting you can park there, it’s best to assume that it’s prohibited.

Another exception to this rule is for disabled badge holders. If you are a disabled badge holder, you’ll be entitled to park on double yellow lines for up to 3 hours so long as your vehicle is not causing an obstruction (within Scotland there is no time limit). 

You’ll also be able to park on double yellows (and single) briefly when loading or unloading heavy or large items. There are also restrictions around whether or not you can do this which are marked by yellow dashes on the kerb, so we’ll quickly cover that now.

Loading restrictions

Even in areas where there are no single or double yellow lines present, there can be loading restrictions. Similar to the rules for single and double yellow lines, If you can see two yellow dashes running down the kerb then loading is prohibited in that area. If you can see one single yellow dash running down the kerb then there are loading restrictions in place and there will be signs indicating what time loading can occur.

Red lines

Red lines work in the same way as yellow, having single and double. But there are some small differences between the two. Red lines are currently only used in specific areas of the UK such as London, Edinburgh and the West Midlands, but are likely to appear in other locations in the future.

Double red lines – You cannot stop at all unless you are a blue badge holder or a licensed taxi, who are entitled to drop people off or pick them up. There is no parking allowed.

Single red lines – You cannot stop during the day and between the times shown on the upright sign.

The main difference to take note of between red and yellow lines is that red lines prohibit any form of waiting or parking, and restrictions apply around stopping to drop off passengers. Whereas yellow lines allow you to stop to drop off, but have restrictions for waiting or parking.

Hopefully that’s helped clear up any confusion around road markings you may have had, and you now know your rights around stopping, waiting and parking in these areas. If you’re interested in reading some more about your parking rights and restrictions, check out our article on parking across driveways.