A report from Churchill Insurance earlier this year found that someone in the UK gets a parking ticket every 4 seconds. To put this into perspective: humans blink once every 4 seconds. Now, we’re not saying that if you prop your eyelids open you’ll never again get slapped with a parking fine (if that works, do let us know, obviously) but what we are saying is that parking tickets are a pain in the proverbial. Here’s six tips on how to avoid the blighters.
More “fun” facts about parking tickets:
- In 2013, councils earned £255million through parking ticket revenue in the UK.
- It’s estimated that local authorities issued 7.8million penalty charge notices.
- Westminster City Council alone dished out more than four parking tickets per resident. That’s 455,000 in total, worth £24million.
Diabolical. Without further ado…
1. Avoid parking in front of dropped kerbs
Parking in front of dropped kerbs – the area of the pavement that sinks to the level of the road to allow easier access to a property – is prohibited 99% of the time. Parking signage is notorious for misrepresenting the truth, so even if there is a placard indicating that parking is allowed, it’s probably best to park elsewhere. If in doubt: skedaddle.
2. Single yellow lines aren’t always your friend
Folks flock to the sanctuary of the single yellows when home time rolls round. However, while 6pm is a common time for councils to remove parking restrictions on single yellow lines, there are still a number of roads that drop restrictions earlier or later than that. Roads near stadiums, for example, may have ramped-up restrictions (8.30pm, Islington) in force on match days.
To avoid a parking fine, make sure you scour all signs within eyesight for clarification and/or travel by flying carpet instead.
3. Don’t “text and load”
Yep, we weren’t really sure what this means either. Fortunately though, our resident jargon-translator has come to the rescue, and essentially the deal is that your vehicle can remain stationary on single or double yellow lines for up to 40 minutes* AS LONG AS:
- There isn’t a parking ban in place. Scour every cobweb-ridden corner of the street within eyesight for confirmation of this. Eyeballs at the ready.
- You have to be obviously loading or unloading your car. This means no WhatsApp frenzy, no napping in the driver’s seat, and definitely no going AWOL. If a traffic warden sees you stopping to text or pick up a phone call, you could end up with a parking ticket.
- There isn’t a “no loading at any time” sign. This ban is also signified by two yellow lines running horizontally across the kerb.
*Beware that some councils, such as Westminster, even have different loading policies depending on the type of vehicle you have (only 20 minutes for private vehicles; 40 minutes for HGVs).
4. Don’t bank on bank holidays
Many drivers make the mistake of assuming that they can park in residents’ bays or on roads with yellow lines during bank holidays. But beware that councils may have traffic wardens on patrol, even on public holidays. (Is nothing sacred?). As always, check for signs. If there are no signs, err on the side of caution and drive on.
5. Book a space in advance
We’re biased of course, but really, the best way to avoid getting a parking ticket is to book a guaranteed space in advance on your computer or smartphone. As well as car parks, JustPark provides spaces in private driveways, churches, schools and hotels, so you don’t have to worry about parking fines. It’s cheaper too – up to 70% – though this benefit pales into insignificance when compared with the unbridled glee of giving traffic wardens the slip.
6. Don’t “feed the meter”
Caution: what you’re about to hear is completely bonkers but also entirely and unfortunately true. In many boroughs, if you’ve paid for two hours at a parking meter, you can’t simply pay for another two hours and replace the ticket on your dashboard… you have to leave the space and find a new one. Whereas if you initially pay for four hours, everything’s tickety-boo. Boo indeed eh.
To end on a high note: Churchill Insurance also reported that last year, one in every 15 parking fines issued was successfully challenged. The takeaway? If you feel you’ve been hard done by, fight the good fight!
Parking whistle whetted? Hungry for more? You might also enjoy The 12 Worst (Best) Road Signs You Won’t Believe Exist.