It’s inevitable – sometimes there are people that are bad at parking. Often there isn’t much you can do in a situation where other people have parked improperly or illegally, but how can you avoid doing it yourself? Take a look at our handy tips on how to be good at parking – and some examples of what not to do!
The Highway Code has some clear rules about what a motorist can and can’t do when it comes to parking. For example, Rule 239 advises that motorists should:
- Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible.
- You MUST switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights
- You MUST apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle
- You MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic
- it is safer for your passengers (especially children) to get out of the vehicle on the side next to the kerb
- put all valuables out of sight and make sure your vehicle is secure
- lock your vehicle.
And it also states what you should avoid doing too:
- Do not park facing against the traffic flow
- Stop as close as you can to the side
- Do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge: remember, the occupant may need more room to get in or out
You MUST NOT stop or park on:
- the carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency (see Rule 270)
- a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines (see Rule 191)
- taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and markings
- an Urban Clearway within its hours of operation, except to pick up or set down passengers (see ‘Traffic signs’)
- a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers, or to load or unload goods
- a tram or cycle lane during its period of operation
- a cycle track
So when you see cars parked like this, you know they aren’t complying with the Highway Code:
As well as following the instructions laid out by Rule 239, motorists are also subject to other parking rules, like these:
- You MUST NOT park in parking spaces reserved for specific users, such as Blue Badge holders, residents or motorcycles, unless entitled to do so. (Rule 241)
- You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road. (Rule 242)
Here’s an example – can you guess what this driver did?
Yep, you guessed it – the car was parked in a space reserved for Blue Badge holders. While we aren’t suggesting that this is how to deal with bad parking, we have to admit it’s quite funny (and artistic!)
That isn’t all when it comes to avoiding bad parking. Drivers must also remember the details of Rule 243, listed below:
DO NOT stop or park:
- near a school entrance
- anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services
- at or near a bus or tram stop or taxi rank
- on the approach to a level crossing/tramway crossing
- opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
- near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
- opposite a traffic island or (if this would cause an obstruction) another parked vehicle
- where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane
- where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
- in front of an entrance to a property
- on a bend
- where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities
except when forced to do so by stationary traffic.
So, if there are any of those obstructions around you need to try and avoid them – unlike the Nissan Micra below!
Of course, if traffic is stationary then, as the rule explains, it’s ok to stop in these places because there isn’t anywhere for your car to go! Rule 243 applies to when your car is parked -that means that the vehicle is stationary, with the handbrake applied, and no key in the ignition.
We all park every day of our motoring lives, so we should be considerate to other drivers and road users, as we expect them to be towards us. If you want a garage to treat your car with the same consideration, head to the Trust My Garage website to find your nearest TMG independent garage, operating under our Chartered Trading Standards (CTSI) approved code of conduct, and see how they can help your car run at its best!