Five tips to avoid getting a parking ticket

No one likes being stung with a pricey parking fine. Here are five tips to help you avoid parking tickets in future

1 Beware of double yellow lines

While you’re not allowed to park on double yellow lines, you can actually stop for as long as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of picking up or dropping off passengers and their luggage, as long as no stopping restrictions are in force.

As long as your passenger is waiting at the kerbside or close to where you intend to pick them up, you are allowed to stop on a double yellow line.

But you can't wait an unreasonable amount of time for your passenger to get to your vehicle if you've stopped on double yellow lines. 

What is a reasonable amount of time?

It's assumed that you know your passenger and they know you and your vehicle. This means there should be very little time between you stopping and your passenger getting into your vehicle.

If you have not made prior arrangements or your passenger is not waiting for you, you can't wait on double yellow lines while you make contact to find out where they are.

2 Don’t drop someone off at a bus stop

You should never stop in any part of the road within bus stop markings unless you are in the flow of traffic.

Some of us make the mistake of stopping in bus stops to let our passengers out and are then surprised to get a penalty charge notice in the post. 

Some local authorities know where their hotspots are and have positioned cameras accordingly to catch you out. It's not worth taking the risk.

3 Don't park with wheels on the pavement

Many of us have parked half on and half off the road, usually to avoid blocking the road.

But even if there are no yellow lines, you could still be slapped with a penalty charge notice.

The technical offence is that you're ‘parked with one or more wheels on or over any part of a road other than the carriageway’. 

The ‘road’ comprises and includes the carriageway, the footway and any grass verge. 

This also includes ‘vehicle crossovers’, like the dropped pavements at an entrance to a house or garage.

Where footway parking is allowed, there should be signs to indicate the start and end of the non-restricted area.

Jargon buster

Penalty charge notice (PCN)  The most common parking ticket. A PCN is often issued by a local authority parking attendant. Use our step-by-step guide to contest an unfair PCN.

Fixed penalty notice  Fixed penalty notices are usually issued by police officers or police traffic officers and are dealt with through the criminal justice system.

Parking charge notice  Parking tickets are issued on private land. Privately owned car parks can set their own rules - if you break these, you could be issued with a ticket or be clamped. 

Use our step-by-step guide to contest an unfair parking charge notice.

4 Research companies offering airport parking services

Some companies offering parking services at airports may park your car in a public local authority car park, which could result in a parking ticket. 

While you are able to appeal against a parking ticket unfairly issued, it is worthwhile doing your research to safeguard against this.

You could also check with the airport's customer services team, which may be able to recommend a reputable parking service for you. 

Make sure you are as confident as possible about the parking company's commitment to keeping your car safe in a designated, safe area, so you can enjoy your holiday and avoid an unpleasant surprise when you get home.

5 Understand parking bay signs

Road markings must indicate where one bay changes to a bay for different users, such as disabled persons. 

You should look closely at the dividing lines between bays and different signs found nearby, as one of the most common reasons for getting a ticket is not understanding the information presented on parking bay signs.

Times and days of operation should be clearly displayed on these signs. If there isn't a time displayed, the bay operates 24 hours a day by default.

It's up to you as the driver to check the signs and the road markings to ensure your vehicle is parked in the correct bay. 

The nearest sign may not always be the right one for that bay, so it's a good idea to check any other parking signs nearby.

There are simple steps you can take to decide if and when you must pay and whether you can park in a bay at any particular time or day of the week. 

  1. Look at the section of the sign that applies to the day and time you want to park.
  2. Decide how long you wish to stay, if you must pay to park or parking is free.
  3. If the time overlaps another section of the sign, check if you can remain in your bay or if you'll have to move your car.

If you're with the vehicle and a parking attendant arrives, they should help you to understand the restrictions and shouldn't issue a ticket.

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