Your Guide to Double and single Yellow Line Parking

Posted 26th February 2024


Often blending into the urban landscape like a background in a painting, parking lines – whether they be white, single yellow, or double yellow – contribute to the overall safety of our towns, cities, and villages. Far from simply being a nuisance when you can’t find somewhere to leave your vehicle, they help to ensure visibility, prevent traffic jams and contribute to the smooth flow of our roadways.

But what happens when they are absent in situations where they are expected?

You only need to look at the news to see the chaos and dangers that often ensue when drivers begin parking anywhere they like due to a lack of line markings. For example, one village in Wales experienced ‘absolute hell’ when cars were left on pavements, forcing disabled residents and those pushing prams onto the road – putting them at serious risk of injury.

And it’s not just an absence of parking lines that can cause trouble; confusion over the meaning of the lines, as well as poorly deployed ones, can be catastrophic for local communities that struggle to park and pedestrians who have to navigate the complicated world of stationary vehicles.

To help you, as a road user, understand what the different markings mean, we have created this guide to single-yellow line parking and double-yellow line parking, alongside alternatives that have specific uses.

Let’s start by defining what we mean by the many different car park lines.


What do the different types of car parking lines mean?

Without realising it, you have probably encountered over a hundred different line markings when navigating the country’s estimated 20,000 car parks – after all, on private land such as car parks, there is no one set colour to denote the boundaries of a formal space; all that matters is you can differentiate one from another.

On our roads, however, the colour of the lines that often run parallel to the curb is an important consideration that will determine whether or not you are allowed to park, wait or stop, and may work in conjunction with upright signs located nearby.

To understand what each of the colours means, we should quickly define the terms ‘parking’, ‘waiting’, and ‘stopping’. Parking means that you leave your stationary car unattended, waiting is remaining in your car for an extended period of time, and stopping simply means pausing at the curb to unload – whether that’s a passenger or your shopping.

A road that has a solid, unbroken white line running alongside the pavement means that parking here is considered legal. However, if there is no pavement, the white line might highlight the absence and means that you are not allowed to stop, wait or park here – because you might cause pedestrians to step into the middle of the road to pass your vehicle.

A single yellow line is perhaps the marking that confuses people the most. It is there to indicate that there is to be no waiting or parking during peak hours – denoted on nearby signage. You may be able to pick up or drop off unless the sign prohibits the acts or there are yellow lines painted on the curb itself (a single line to tell you that loading and unloading are restricted during specific times and double if there is to be no loading or unloading full stop).

According to the UK Highway Code, double yellow lines “indicate a prohibition of waiting at any time, even if there are no upright signs.” In short, double yellow lines mean no parking at any time – with two exceptions:


  • Blue badge holders can park on both double yellow lines and single yellow lines for up to three hours with their badge visible.
  • You may also be allowed to load or unload heavy goods.


Finally, there are the red lines, usually doubled.  Unlike double yellow lines, you are prohibited from even stopping on roads that are marked with double red lines – aside from during the natural flow of traffic. These are mostly found in major cities or where a high volume of vehicles is expected to navigate narrow roads.



Are you allowed to ‘pavement park’?

The Highway Code explicitly states that “You must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.” What that statement means is that in London you can expect an on-the-spot fine if caught because the act of parking on the pavement is illegal, whereas outside the capital it is likely to be at the discretion of local parking enforcement officers.

Unless you have permission to park on the pavement – given by a sign in the vicinity – our advice would be to avoid doing so, even if other cars have decided it’s okay. After all, parking on the pavement can cause problems for pedestrians with mobility issues or are manoeuvring a pushchair.


What are the rules about parking on a white line outside a house?

Parking on a white line outside a house is perfectly legal unless your vehicle obstructs its driveway. If you do indeed block that entrance or exit, the homeowner is within their right to contact their local borough or district council and even take civil action against you.


When can you park on a single yellow line?

A single yellow line encountered whilst parking means that the act is restricted (including waiting) during peak hours. The times during which parking will be restricted and monitored will be detailed on a nearby upright sign. If that sign is yellow with a prohibition symbol it highlights the time that you must not park here. If, on the other hand, it is white, the text will tell you the times that you can park here, for how long, and whether you will need a permit to do so.


How long can you park on double yellow lines?

The short answer to this question is that you are prohibited from parking in areas with double yellow lines at all times of the day and night. The slightly longer answer might highlight exceptions to the rule – such as drivers who are loading and unloading, blue badge holders, and any other local rules that are detailed on nearby signage.



Can blue badge holders park on double yellow lines?

Blue badge holders can park on single and double yellow lines for up to three hours if their badge is prominently displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard with their arrival time marked (using the incorporated rotating wheel) and details such as expiry date still valid.


What is the fine for parking on double yellow lines?

The fine for double yellow line parking is determined by your local council but could be anything up to the value of £130. Most local authorities will reduce the amount if you pay the fine promptly, but you cannot usually appeal the fine once it has been paid. Our advice would be to adhere to parking regulations, and – where possible – avoid leaving your vehicle on double yellow lines to minimise the chances of receiving a fine.



While it is true that parking lines often blend into the background of our towns, cities and villages, they play an important role when ensuring the safety and smooth functionality of the UK’s extensive road network. They are often the result of numerous planning meetings, lengthy consultation periods and the hard work of skilled road marking professionals. If you would like to know more about the creation of road parking lines, whether white, yellow or red, we invite you to speak to our team of specialists today.


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