UK traffic parking laws

Updated February 21, 2017

The United Kingdom has many rules and regulations concerning where and when vehicles can park at the side of the road, and penalties will apply if you fail to observe those regulations. Local authorities are becoming increasingly responsible for enforcing breaches of parking regulations as part of the Decriminalized Parking Enforcement scheme. The UK Highway Code contains the regulations that relate to parking and it is available online.

Yellow lines

Parking where there are double yellow lines on the road next to the curb is prohibited at all times. This applies to dropping off passengers and waiting temporarily for passengers. It is possible to park on single yellow lines at set times of day and for fixed maximum periods of time. These times are indicated on "Time Plates" found mounted on poles at the side of the road. These rules are governed by the Road Traffic Regulation Act (RTRA), Sections 5 and 8.

Reserved parking spaces

Many local authorities provide reserved parking spaces which can only be used by specific users, such as people with severe mobility problems who are issued Blue Badges. Other reserved spaces include those reserved for those local residents who have purchased a Resident's Parking Permit, and cars must never occupy spaces that have been reserved for motorcycles. Several Laws govern reserved parking, including RTRA Sections 5 and 8, and CSDPA (Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act) Section 21.

Parking at night

At night, cars parked at the side of the road must never face against the flow of traffic. This regulation does not apply if the car is parked in a designated parking bay inset from the road. If a car is parked at the side of a road with a speed limit greater than 30mph, then sidelights or parking lights must be left on. RVLR (Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations) 24 and CUR (Road Vehicles: Construction and Use Regulations) 101 govern rules for parking at night.

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About the Author

Peter Lancett has been writing professionally for 10 years. He has five novels and a series of award-winning illustrated books currently distributed internationally. Lancett writes for film and television alongside his work for Demand Studios. He has traveled extensively and has lived in England and New Zealand.