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Highway Code Parking Rules

Roadside stop laws and associated restrictions have severe penalties. This section explains UK parking rules near corners, on the pavement, close to a junction, and in front of a driveway.

The wording of the highways code makes it clear to identify the law when bringing a vehicle to a halt or leaving it temporarily. The words 'MUST' and 'MUST NOT' are the parking rules that need to be obeyed.

Latest Parking Rules in the United Kingdom

Motorists and motorbike riders can use these parking laws to learn where you can – and you cannot – park. Even so, you should try to avoid making a complete stop on any highway, wherever possible.

Furthermore, motorists should not use the highways as a legal place to park or dump (abandon) a motorised vehicle.

Note: The UK-wide Highway Code parking rules and regulations are clear. They direct you to park your vehicle in special marked bays identified by white lines.

Highway Code Parking Rules UK

Rule 239: You must follow all roadside parking regulations. The stop rules apply any time you need to vacate your car, or bring it to a halt, in a safe place on the road. The alternative is to leave it in off-street car parking areas whenever possible.

Follow these current guidelines if you need to stop a vehicle on the roadside:

  • Do not park a car facing against the flow of traffic and stop as close as you reasonably can to the verge or road side.
  • Avoid stopping too close to a vehicle if it is displaying the Blue Badge holder sign (e.g. a disabled driver).
  • After you have parked the vehicle, you MUST turn off the engine, headlights, and fog lights.
  • Before leaving the vehicle you MUST apply the handbrake.
  • You MUST avoid hitting someone when opening the car door. Thus, check for cycle riders and any other road traffic before you open it.
  • Encourage all passengers to exit the vehicle on the kerb side (left in the United Kingdom).
  • Finally, make sure your vehicle is left in a secure location and locked – and do not leave any valuables in sight.

Updated Highway Code Rules

Drivers MUST ensure it is safe before using a hand-held device to help them park the vehicle. Move the vehicle into the parking space in the safest way possible and by the shortest route.

Drivers MUST remain in control of the vehicle at all times while using a hand-held device to assist parking. Do not use the device for anything other reason while you park and do not endanger anyone. Always use any hand-held device according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Important: Drivers could get a £1,000 fine for opening the door with the wrong hand. The updated Highway Code rules aim to reduce injuries to cyclists by adopting the ‘Dutch Reach’ method (e.g. opening the door with the hand furthest away from it).

Rule 240: You MUST NOT Stop or Park

  • On motorway slip roads, hard shoulders, or carriageways (except for roadside emergency situations).
  • On any pedestrian crossings or any area of the crossing marked by zig-zag lines.
  • On a clearway (designated road section or carriageway).
  • Inside taxi bays where the no stop rule gets indicated by upright sign markings.
  • Within Urban Clearways during hours of operation. The Urban Clearway Highway Code allows a stop to pick up or set down passengers (shown by the traffic signs).
  • On any road marked with double white lines. This includes broken white lines on your side of the road. An exception applies for unloading goods and picking up passengers.
  • On tram lines or a cycle lane during its period of operation.
  • On a designated cycle track.
  • On red lines for specific red routes unless otherwise indicated by signage. But, vehicles may enter a bus lane to unload unless it is specifically prohibited.

Rule 241: Reserved Parking Highway Code Rules

UK Highway Code parking laws state you MUST NOT park a motor vehicle in specific reserved spaces. The exception applies for those with entitlement (e.g. Blue Badge holders, motorcycles, residents).

Rule 242: Road Obstruction

The Highway Code parking rules also state you MUST NOT leave your vehicle (or a trailer) in a position where it may cause a danger or an unnecessary road obstruction.

Note: You can report an obstruction on the road (e.g. scaffolding, skips, illegal road signs, overhanging hedges, tree branches) to the local council or to Highways England.

Rule 243: DO NOT Stop, Park, or Abandon a Vehicle

  • Near to the entrance of a school.
  • Anywhere that would prevent access for the Emergency Services.
  • Near to the brow of a hill or on a hump bridge.
  • Where you might force other traffic to enter a tram lane.
  • In front of an entrance to someone else’s property.
  • On a road bend.
  • Where you would obstruct the use of cycle facilities used by cyclists.
  • Near to bus stops and no stopping at a bus stop, tram stop, or a taxi rank.
  • Opposite a road junction or within ten (10) metres (32 feet) near junctions or corners (except in authorised spaces).
  • On the approach to a level crossing or a tramway crossing.
  • Opposite a traffic island or another parked vehicle if it causes an obstruction.
  • Anywhere the kerb got lowered. This is usually done to assist powered mobility vehicles and wheelchair users.

Note: An exception applies to situations when you are forced to do so because of stationary traffic.

Rule 244: Highway Code Parking on the Pavement

UK Highway Code parking rules prohibit leaving a car parked on a pavement. Abandoning a motor vehicle on a sidewalk may obstruct and inconvenience all pedestrians.

This is especially so for those with visual impairments, people with prams or pushchairs, and wheelchair users.

You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on pavements in London. The same Highway Code parking signs and regulations apply elsewhere throughout England and Wales. There may be exceptions where road signage shows different restrictions.

Rule 245: Controlled Parking Zones

Controlled Parking Zone entry signs indicate the times of waiting and parking restrictions and when they are in force. Parking may be permitted in designated places at other times or separately signed with marked bays.

Rule 246: Goods Vehicles

All Goods Vehicles (including any trailer) with a maximum laden weight of more than 7.5 tonnes MUST NOT be parked without police permission on a pavement, a roadside verge, or land areas situated between carriageways.

An exception occurs if the vehicle must be stationary for loading and unloading. But, drivers MUST NOT leave the vehicle unattended.

Rule 247: Loading and Unloading

Double yellow lines or road markings on the kerb mean you cannot load or unload. These delivery and collection restrictions may advise you using upright signs.

Marked and signed red route bays may show the location and times where loading and unloading can take place.

Related Content and Help Guides

Decriminalised Parking Enforcement

DPE is a phrase given to the civil enforcement of car parking regulations. As a rule, the local authorities operate Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in the United Kingdom.

Parking at Night

UK Highway Code parking at night rules 248 to 252 govern motorised vehicle parking. The guide explains the regulations and restrictions to park a vehicle at night or in foggy conditions.

Roadside Parking Rules

The police and local authorities enforce roadside parking regulations. You must park your vehicle in the correct manner to avoid getting a ticket and a fine.

Waiting and Parking Restrictions

The guide explains the UK Highway Code ‘no waiting’ and ‘restricted parking’ laws. It explains how the authorities regulate and enforce all waiting and parking rules across the country.

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Highway Code Parking Laws in United Kingdom