It’s clear that parking on double yellows and zig-zags by crossings is likely to attract a penalty – but there are many less obvious offences ready to dent your finances.
Can you spot the offence each car is committing? Scroll down for answers - Copyright Pete Barden
It’s likely you’ve been ‘committing’ these 'offences' for years without problems, but with stats showing there are now 151 vehicles per mile on UK roads compared to just 119 in 2000, enforcement officers and cops will be under pressure to act.
Here we look at 10 ‘secret’ parking offences you might not be aware of.
1) Use of parking lights
Rule 249 of Highway Code says you must illuminate parking lights when stopped on a road where the speed limit is over 30mph? This also applies for vehicles parked in a lay-by.
What's the penalty: The Highway Code is merely advisory, but failing to comply could be used as evidence in court proceedings under traffic acts to establish liability. This means you could face fines or disqualification in the event of an incident caused by your parking.
2) Placing cones to reserve a parking space
Reserving a space on a public highway, through the likes of cones and wheelie bins, is an offence and could result in a visit from police or other enforcement officers.
What's the penalty: Obstructing public roads is an offence under the Highways Act and offenders can be fined £100.
3) Parking on a pavement
Dropping a couple of wheels on a pavement can help create a parking space and allow other cars to pass with ease. The question is, will you find penalty notice on your windscreen?
What's the penalty: If you park on the pavement in London, laws mean you can be fined £70. Elsewhere, it’s not so clear cut with no specific legislation currently in place. However, Rule 242 of the Highway Code says: "You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road." The use of ‘must not’ means it’s backed by legislation, so dangerous pavement parking could attract a fine wherever you are.
4) Parking more than 50cm from the kerb
Leaving a brisk walk between your car and kerb when parking can obstruct the highway and put other road users at risk – including cyclists and emergency vehicles.
What's the penalty: National parking laws came into force in 2009 allowing councils to issue fines against motorists who park cars more than 50cm from the kerb — labelling it as ‘double parking’. Saving your alloys from scrapes could mean a £70 fine.
The three offences...
Did you spot the secret offences - or are you guilty of them Copyright Pete Barden
5) Parking near a residential driveway
How close can you park to a driveway and still leave room for the resident’s car? The answer, it turns out, is not down to your judgement, but set by where the dropped kerb is located. You must not park your wheels over a dropped kerb – this includes those intended to help pedestrians and those providing access to driveways etc. If a driveway does not have a dropped kerb, it may not be legal and parking across is allowed.
What's the penalty: Authorities are unlikely to take action against a vehicle parked in front of a driveway unless reported by the resident – the homeowner could have an agreement with the driver. If you have a problem with this sort of nuisance parking, report it to your local authority. Offenders could be fined £70 depending on location.
6) Parking within 10 metres of a junction
Parking close to a junction makes it difficult and dangerous for other drivers. Pedestrians can also be put at risk because of the restricted visibility caused. Rule 243 of the Highway Code states you ‘must not’ park opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space.
What's the penalty: It is possible you will get a non-endorsable fixed penalty of £50–£100 for causing an unnecessary obstruction. If your parking contributes to an accident, it's likely you'll be facing a large proportion of the blame – and be fined accordingly.
7) Parking in a bus lane to let an emergency vehicle pass
You could be helping save someone, but the bus lane cameras have little compassion. However, parking in the bus lane for a few seconds is a better option keeping moving as the emergency vehicle passes. This defence was highlighted as plausible in the 2013 case of Doctor Catherine Berry, a lecturer in cell engineering, who received and challenged a £60 fine for pulling into a London bus lane to make way for a fire engine on blue lights.
What's the penalty: Fines for bus-lane violations are set locally, but in Greater London you’ll be fined £130 and typically £60 outside metropolitan areas.
8) Parking towards oncoming traffic at night
Parking with the front of your car facing oncoming traffic on a busy route is asking for trouble. Rule 248 of the Highway Code states: '"You MUST NOT park on a road at night facing against the direction of the traffic flow unless in a recognised parking space." This is because rear light reflectors would not be seen by fast traffic approaching from the rear — increasing the risk of an accident.
What's the penalty: Legislation covers this, so a fixed penalty could be placed on your vehicle. Again, in the event of an accident, your failure to comply with the Highway Code rule (248) may be used as evidence in court proceedings under traffic acts to establish liability.
9) Putting rocks or reserved parking cones on verges or outside homes
Many homeowners do this to stop motorists parking on soft verges and obstructing roads. However, most verges are council owned, so taking matters into your own hands by placing objects on the verge is unlawful.
What's the penalty: If items are spotted on verges, the local authority will most likely request they are removed or ask contractors to do it for them — passing the cost on to the culprit. You could also be sued for damage caused to vehicles parking on the verge. However, if it is a persistent problem that is obstructing the highway or pavement, ask the council to install official bollards.
10) 'Parking' a skip or pile of top soil etc, on the road outside your house
Planning some building work or landscaping? Don't think you can just deposit a skip or other materials in the road outside your house. There are strict rules around skips and building materials. Your skip will need a permit and proper safety equipment attached.
What's the penalty: The firm you get the skip from should handle all the permits, but if you book from a rogue operator, you could be inline for an £1,000 fine. Also, you could be responsible for compensation and criminal matters arising from any accident involving the skip.
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