Single and double yellow lines can be a headache for drivers. Working out when - and if - you’re allowed to park there is one of the most confusing parts of our roads. So let’s take a look at single and double yellow lines and what they mean for motorists.
What does a single yellow line mean?
If you see single yellow lines you can’t wait or park on the road, during the times shown. These signs should be visible either on nearby signs or at the entrance to the controlled parking zone.
You may be able to stop and drop someone off if you see single yellow line parking, or pick them up. That is, unless you see a sign that says this isn’t allowed.
On the other hand if it’s a double yellow line, you generally aren’t allowed to park, or wait, at any time.
In the UK we use yellow lines on our roads to indicate whether or not you can park there.
Usually, if you're caught parking on single or double yellow lines it shouldn't affect your car insurance. But you could end up with a fine.
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Can you park on a single yellow line?
No, you can’t park on single yellow lines between the times shown on a nearby sign, or on a notice at the entrance to the parking area you’re now in.
The times differ depending on where you are, but they’re likely to be something like Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
When can you park on a single yellow line?
Outside of the times shown on any signage, you might be able to park on a single yellow line. Just make sure you check the sign before you park up.
You may also find that the signs will say you’re allowed to park there at any time on certain days, like Saturdays and Sundays.
Also, when you’re finding a space to park on a single yellow line, make sure you’re not causing an obstruction. However, this rule applies anywhere, not just on a single yellow line.
Can you park on double yellow lines?
For most UK motorists the answer is no, you can’t park on double yellow lines. They’re marked on the road for a reason, and if you park or wait on the road you could be at risk of getting a fine. There are some circumstances where you may be able to bypass this rule, such as if you hold a Blue Badge, but usually it’s not allowed. When can I park on double yellow lines?
There are a handful of other instances where you can park on double yellow lines for a short time.
You can, for example, pull over to drop off or pick up a passenger. You just need to check there are no stopping restrictions and you aren’t going to cause an obstruction.
If you're collecting a passenger they need to be waiting for you - you can’t park up and wait for them to arrive.
Commercial vehicles are also able to park on double yellow lines for the loading and unloading of goods.
How much is a parking fine?
Parking fines vary depending on where you’re parked and if it’s in a council-run area or if the parking is controlled by a private company. You usually have to pay within 14 or 28 days and the fine may increase if you don’t pay within this time. If you think the fine was given unfairly you can appeal the ticket.
Do you have to pay a parking charge notice?
It’s all too easy to get caught out by an increasing number of parking restrictions.
Yet if you get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you might not have to pay it. It all depends on
If you were actually parked in the wrong place at the wrong time
If you think you haven’t made a mistake and shouldn’t have had the PCN
It’s possible to appeal a PCN if you honestly believe you shouldn’t have had it. This involves providing evidence to show that you did everything correctly, such as photos, and appealing against the notice.
If it’s a PCN, this is usually issued by your local council. A Parking Charge Notice usually comes from a private company, such as the owner of a supermarket car park. There’s also a Fixed Penalty Notice, which is issued by the police. To make sure you complete the appeals process correctly, see our checklist for appealing an unfair PCN.
Can Blue Badge holders park on yellow lines?
Yes, Blue Badge holders can sometimes park on yellow lines. There are 3 things you need to keep in mind:
It’s for a maximum of 3 hours
You must not be causing an obstruction by stopping there
You must display your Blue Badge clearly
Be mindful where you park, so keep clear of loading bays and traffic islands, otherwise you might cause an obstruction.
If you park on double yellows and you don’t have a Blue Badge, or you forget to show your Blue Badge, then you could get a £70 fine.
Can you park on yellow lines on a Sunday?
Sundays are generally quieter as fewer people are using the roads and parking spaces. But this doesn’t always mean you can park on a yellow line. You always need to check what nearby signs say, to make sure you can park. If not, you could risk a parking fine.
Can you get fined for bank holiday parking?
Regardless of whether it’s a bank holiday when traffic may be quieter, you still need to adhere to parking signs and observe waiting restriction signs.
If a parking sign says no parking between Monday and Saturday, 8am to 6pm, then even if it’s a bank holiday Monday, you can’t park there.
This is the same for both single and double yellow lines.
The only exception to this rule is if you’re a Blue Badge holder.
Can you park on white lines?
If there’s a single white line on a road, which is unbroken, you can park on the road. However, if it’s there to indicate that there is no pavement, it’s illegal to park. It’s also worth checking to see if there are any signs nearby with limits on parking.
What is an urban clearway?
An urban clearway is a section of road where you can’t stop or park your car.
The only exception is to briefly drop off or pick up passengers. The clearway sign should specify what hours it’s in effect.
They're usually used in towns and cities to keep traffic moving at busy times of day.
Things to bear in mind on urban clearways:
There won’t be any road markings to highlight the clearway
There’s be a sign for the start of the clearway as well as an end of clearway sign
They’re usually on busy roads
You can find out more about the rules around parking and waiting restrictions at the government website.
Is there anywhere else you can’t park?
There are some parts of the road where you aren’t allowed to park, and if you do you may get a fine.
Usually you’re told on nearby signs, but this may not be the case in some circumstances, such as if there are double yellow lines.
If there’s a red line for example, there’s absolutely no stopping and no parking on them at any time of day. Even if you have a Blue Badge.
If it’s a single red line, check the signs to see if and when stopping is allowed.
You also aren’t able to park in the following locations:
The hard shoulder of the motorway, unless it’s an emergency
Cycle tracks or tram lanes
Where you see double white lines on a road
Parking in London
There are different rules in London, so make sure you’re aware of these before you leave your car. Commercial vehicles aren’t allowed to park overnight in residential streets, for example. You also can’t park on the pavement if it’s going to cause serious inconvenience to people trying to get by, especially those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.