Parking in the UK has changed greatly over the past few years, and even more so in our cities. Parking tickets are becoming ever more common and we have been told the rules have changed, in order to make it easier for motorists, and to help make the road network more efficient. The problem is many people are being caught out or missing out purely because they don’t completely understand the rules. Lets face it, everyone has at some point got a ticket – I myself received a ticket within the 6 months after passing. But, that has been my own ticket since I learnt some simple rules.
Things have changed, dodging traffic wardens or taking a sneaky look up and down the road after parking on a double yellow line just wont cut it anymore. In years gone by, a traffic warden would have to physically put a ticket on your window, but not anymore. Today they have an advanced system designed to catch you!
- CCTV CAMERAS – most towns have a CCTV network and this is very often trained on parking hot spots. Such as outside Sainsbury’s in Hampton Hill in West London.
- CCTV SMART CARS – Smart Cars or IQs which are both very small. You will see this little sneaky thing hanging out near schools in the morning or parking hotspots in the day, and yes it can park on a double yellow or a curb to catch you. The CCTV has a telescopic lens so it will see you long before you see it. You will find CCTV cars in most towns, often seen outside schools and colleges in Ashford, Middlesex.
- BIKE WARDENS – wardens no longer always wait. A lot now use mopeds, whizzing around, scanning the parking bays for cars with no tickets. They will come and go in a flash! They can be seen about Feltham High Street and whizzing up and down the back roads of Twickenham.
A Parking Ticket is called a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice). In most cases you will have 28 days to pay or challenge it – often you will get a reduced fee if you pay it early. Other types of driving related tickets are Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) which are given by the police or Standard Charge Notices (SCN), issued by some local councils at fixed prices. But, for the most part, city centre tickets are the most costly.
Below you will find a short note on all the different types of upright roads signs. Understand these signs and you should find you will never get a parking ticket again! But, even better than that, understand the prohibited times and you will often find yourself getting free parking!
Upright Signs – A parking bay is as only as good as the upright sign linked with it. You need to understand what the parking bays prohibited times are. For example, a signal yellow sign says parking prohibited between 7am-5.30pm – this means you can park before and after this time. Look out for the prohibited times – sometimes you will have two! For example, 6am-9am and 4pm-7pm, meaning you can park before, between and after. But if you have NO sign or No prohibited times, NEVER park as you will get a ticket!
Double Yellow Lines – We all know and have seen double yellows before, but did you know you CANNOT drop off, pick up or wait on them at anytime unless indicated with both a double yellow line and a upright sign? But very few double yellows are twinned with a sign. So, if you drop off, pick up or wait, especially on a busy highstreet such as Twickenham or Richmond, you may possibly be spotted on CCTV and will get a ticket.
Single Yellow Line – Single yellow lines are very common around cities and busy towns. They provide us with some great free parking. Put simply; a single yellow line will be twinned with a sign. The sign will show you the prohibited times; anything outside of this is free parking for you. But keep your eyes open; roads that are close to stations often have just one hour of prohibited parking in the day to stop commuters parking. Don’t get caught out by this, because the traffic wardens will be ready and waiting. Again, like with the double yellow, NO sign or NO prohibited times means don’t park!
The End of Double Yellow Lines or Parking Bays – Roads have a no-mans land, where two parking zones meet or end. This can be seen by having two signs next to each other with opposing information. It’s not rocket science – arrows will point to which way the restrictions apply. At the end of the restricted parking zone you will see a ‘Parking Zone Ends’ sign; this means no restrictions.
Resident Bays – Very simple; it’s residents only parking but again, take a look at the twinned sign. If you are not in the prohibited time, for example its 7am-6pm residences only and its currently 6.04pm, then you have yourself free parking. But, if you see no prohibited time, don’t park, you will get a ticket! Watch out for dropped curbs and parking on or over the white line – don’t give a traffic warden an easy parking ticket!
Dropped Curbs – This is often a case of anguish for many! The rules are very simple – do not stop or park where the kerb has been lowered for a drive or to help wheelchair and powered mobility vehicles. No part of your wheel must be on or beside the dropped curb.
Pay & Display – This is normally found at the end of a residents zone or in towns. Many people get caught out here because they assume that it is free on Sunday and evenings. Check first – simply look at the prohibited times. Keep a note of your ticket time as traffic wardens often do. You don’t want to find a warden hanging out near your car if your 5 minute late!
Bay and Residential Bays – I often see parking tickets (PCNs) on cars parked in bays with a ticket or a residential pass. This is because the front or rear wheels are over the white line. Your wheels must be inside the bay. In most cases the bumpers can over hang but this is subject to each council and area. Check before you walk away!
Parking Suspension – Everyday I see people getting tickets here. The problem is a lot of us know and understand our local parking times/rules. This is great, but when bays or areas get a parking suspension, it’s easy to get caught out. Put it simply; road works, removals and undisclosed factors will cause a bay or bays to be suspended. You will see a large yellow sign attached to an upright sign and or ticket machine. But, the problem is they will often go up days or weeks before it’s active. So, LOOK at the prohibited days/times, don’t ignore it! I saw a traffic warden in Twickenham having a field day as a row of bays had Parking Suspension signs up a week before the closures. When it came to the prohibited day, people seemed to ignore the sign as it had been up for a while and loads of tickets had been dealt out.
So hopefully this will help you avoid parking tickets (PCN) – simply don’t take a risk and understand prohibited times. But, if you do get a PCN, you will find many dedicated companies to help fight unfair tickets.
We all need to do one thing together – we need to park in legal and safe places and understanding the rules will make this much easier. I know at times parking restrictions seem unfair but often, not always, there is a reason.
So don’t park in places that seem stupid, for example; around schools and stations. Often this is where our most vulnerable pedestrians will be, kids! Don’t park on a curb because you will only be 30 seconds; you are still in the centre of a side road or over someones drive. I know it may save 40 seconds of your life, but that in itself may cause someone else hardship or an accident and only adds weight for local councils to place more parking restrictions.
Parking tickets can easily be avoided, but sometimes it’s the parking itself that can be the hard part. At Totally Driving, we offer some great Refresher Courses to help you get your confidence back with parking, motorways and general road awareness. Click here to take a look at our courses.