Home > Parking Tickets > Tips to Avoid Getting a Parking Ticket

Tips to Avoid Getting a Parking Ticket

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 15 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
Car Parking Car Clamping Car Park

If you know you are going to be travelling somewhere and you will have to park your car there, try and find out where the nearest car park is before you set off. This will save you from having to hunt around for somewhere safe and legal to park when you’re in a strange area on a tight schedule.

Parking on the Road

There are some areas with no signs and no markings on the street which are perfectly safe to park in. Unfortunately these are usually found in quiet suburban places and are few and far between in busy urban areas. If you do find one, make sure you don’t block anyone’s drive way or restrict their access. Also consider that you must leave enough space on either side of you to allow emergency vehicles to pass should they need to – so if it’s a narrow street consider the space between you and any vehicles parked across the road.

In some places, you might be allowed to park on the street for a specific length of time - i.e. up to one hour during working hours and any length of time during 6.30pm and 6.00am, while in others you won’t be able to park there at all at 24/7. Some will allow parking with special circumstances – for example if you hold a resident parking permit, or a special pass issued by an employer.

Parking Meters

Don’t park up and go to ‘get change’ for the parking meter. This is a really common excuse when Appealing a Parking Ticket, and is unlikely to end up being successful. You need to have change ready, despite the common misconception that there is a magical ’10 minutes grace’ period to get change. There isn’t and you are likely to get a nice big fine instead.

Knowing your Road Markings

Check the road where you are parking for double or single yellow lines and other restrictions, and make sure you know what they are before you leave your car there.

Red Lines

These mean absolutely no stopping at all. It is hazardous to do so, and you mustn’t stop or pull over even just to let someone quickly ‘jump out’ of the car. Usually ‘red routes’ are seen in busy areas of large cities and replace yellow lines.

Double Yellow Lines

If you see double yellow lines on the road - don't park there. They mean that parking is not allowed at any time - at all. You may see a sign that says 'no parking at any time', but since January 2003 there is no legal requirement for that wording to be displayed. In light of this you should err on the cautious side and never park on double yellow lines.

Single Yellow Lines

Parking on single yellow lines is often restricted to certain days and times. Typically, you can't park there during peak working hours but parking during the weekends or in the evenings is allowed.

Whatever the conditions, they should be indicated by a nearby sign. Some areas with single yellow lines will allow certain people to park there at any time, such as disabled motorists holding a blue badge, or people loading or unloading a vehicle.


It there is a danger of being clamped, this should be clearly displayed along with any restrictions or warning signs - although sometimes it’s not that obvious as some unscrupulous clamping firms will put the signs where they are not easily visible, so do be vigilant.

Parking in a Car Park

When using a car park, make sure that you only park your vehicle where indicated. Usually this will be in ‘marked bays,’ indicated by the white lines between the spaces. Park in one space, within the lines, not over two or three, and don't park in a disabled or reserved space unless you are entitled to do so and hold the relevant permit.

Paying for Parking

Once you’ve parked up, check whether or not you need to pay for your parking when you return to the car park or if it is a ‘pay and display’. If you need to pay first and display the ticket in your car, make sure the ticket is clearly visible and isn’t likely to fall off the windscreen and out of sight. If it does you could come back to find yourself with a ticket and facing the hassle of going through the appeals process.

Finally, always come back to your car within the time specified and when selecting how long you need, always go for a conservative estimate. It’s far better to overpay by a few pounds than end up with a £40 fine!

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[Add a Comment]
Dave P - Your Question:
As a motorcyclist It is sometimes hard to find a dedicated parking space in some towns so use a regular free car parking bay or find a space outside the lines to save a space for cars. By what I have heard here that it would put me at risk of a fine. If I see a pay parking meter and pay for it Is it oK for me to use the car parking space for a large capacity motorcycle

Our Response:
If you have paid for the parking space, we see no reason why you cannot park a motorcycle in that space.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-Jan-17 @ 12:27 PM
As a motorcyclist It is sometimes hard to find a dedicated parking space in some towns so use a regular freecar parking bay or find a space outside the lines to save a space for cars. By what I have heard here that it would put me at risk of a fine. If I see a pay parking meter and pay for it Is it oK for me to use the car parking space for a large capacity motorcycle
Dave P - 15-Jan-17 @ 4:55 PM
@Somebodysomeplace. It can also be an offence not to park within designate spaces though. If you're stationary for any length of time you could still be causing an obstruction to anyone trying to get past or into/out of a space.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Jul-15 @ 10:48 AM
Hi Im curious about supermarkets such as asda that have pay and display bays... Occassionally I remain in my car watching a spot of Netflix with the kids whilst the missus is shopping and begrudge paying the money for a bay so Park between the bays on what is effectively the road between bays. A couple of times now I have been told by an ncp ticket operative that I need to park in a bay as I will get a ticket immediately if I was to be spotted on camera for not being in a bay.. They have then graciously allowed me to park in a bay free as there was only a few mins before the missus returned...are they pulling my leg telling me they can issue a ticket?I thought it was only for use of a bay you had to pay and therefore would be fined for not paying....
somebodysomeplaceels - 3-Jul-15 @ 2:43 PM
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