Can You Park on a Single Yellow Line? Your Questions Answered

Can you park on a single yellow line? The short answer is, it depends! Read on to learn more about yellow line parking restrictions. We all know that sinking feeling when you return to your …

Can you park on a single yellow line? The short answer is, it depends! Read on to learn more about yellow line parking restrictions.

We all know that sinking feeling when you return to your car, only to see a big yellow ticket on the front of your vehicle…

It’s something everyone wants to avoid.

The problem comes when you’re unsure exactly when and where you can park. Is it OK to stop briefly on single yellow lines? What about Sundays, bank holidays or blue badges? And what happens if you fall foul of the rules?

With all these questions, it’s tempting to risk it and hope for the best. But get it wrong, and a substantial fine could be in store.

To help you park with certainty, we’ve covered all your most pressing questions on single yellow line parking. Let’s get started.

What does a single yellow line mean?

Single yellow lines tell you parking and waiting restrictions are in force. In practice, this means you can’t stop or park in a restricted area, during certain times.

Your district council paints these lines directly onto the road (near the kerb) to identify locations where parking might cause an obstruction for other traffic or problems for emergency services. They’re also used when vehicles might cause danger to pedestrians, cycle routes, and walkways.

There aren’t standardised rules about single yellow line restrictions across the UK. This means you’ll have to look out for road signs giving more information on times, days and the nature of restrictions.

There are some places and situations where parking on a single line is allowed, though. For example, this could include loading bays and people holding blue badges.

So, when can you park on single yellow lines?

Can you park on a single yellow line?

The short answer is sometimes.

Single yellow lines mean you can’t park or wait in your car during restricted hours displayed on nearby signs. These signs are normally located at the side of the road, or at the entrance to a controlled parking zone.

Common restrictions include things like no parking between 8am and 6pm. Parking might also be limited to just two hours during these times. You can still park after 6pm, as long as you’ve moved your car before 8am.

All-day parking might be allowed on Saturdays or Sundays. Again though, you’ll have to check the sign to be sure. If this is the case, you’ll see something like “Mon-Fri / 8am-7pm / 20 mins / No Return within 40 mins” written on the sign.

While this means parking restrictions apply during the week (and 40 minutes is the maximum time you can park), you’re free to park any time on the weekends.

So, yes — you can park on single yellow lines, but only in certain circumstances.

There are exemptions to these rules.

For instance, you can usually park on single yellow lines if you display a Blue Badge in your vehicle.

As well as parking, you can normally stop drop-off and pick-up passengers on single yellow lines. This applies unless you see two yellow marks painted on the pavement. If you see two yellow lines painted at right angles to the verge, they mean no loading or unloading at any time. If there’s just a single line at right-angles to the curb, check nearby signs to see what you can and can’t do.

What’s the difference between parking, stopping and waiting?

We’ve just used the terms “parking”, “stopping” and “waiting” to discuss single yellow line restrictions. You might also see terms like “no stopping” or “no parking” on road-side signs.

So, what’s the difference?

  • No Stopping: A “no stopping” sign means exactly this. You can’t stop anytime, even to swiftly unload or collect some items, pick someone up or drop someone off.
  • No Parking: A “no parking” sign means you can stop temporarily, but not leave your vehicle for any period of time. Quickly letting out a passenger or unloading some goods would be fine.
  • No Waiting: If you see a “no waiting” sign next to single yellows, this means you can’t linger there (i.e. waiting to collect someone or pick-up an order) during restricted times.

For more information on parking, stopping and waiting, read rules 238 to 252 of the Highway Code.

When can you park on a single yellow line?

In UK law, it’s up to local councils to decide where single yellow lines go and how long they’re in operation for. In most instances, parking restrictions only apply Monday to Saturday. This means you can normally park on single yellow lines on Sundays.

This isn’t always the case though, so you’ve always got to check nearby signs.

Here’s more information on days and times when restrictions apply.

Can you park on single yellow lines on Saturdays?

Sometimes. You can’t park on single yellow lines during controlled hours and days shown on nearby signs.

This may mean you can park on single yellow lines after 7pm on Saturdays (for example). This could also mean you can’t park at all though… so read any restrictions carefully.

Can you park on single yellow lines on Sundays?

While you can probably park on single yellow lines on Sundays, this isn’t permitted by default.

If signs say parking restrictions only apply Monday — Saturday, then you’re fine to park all day on Sunday. You’ll just have to remove your car before restrictions come into force on Monday morning.

Can you park on single yellow lines after 6pm?

Lots of local authorities allow parking on single yellow lines after 6pm.

This differs though, and some restrictions could last until 6.30pm or even as late as 8pm. This is usually after peak traffic hours in your town.

Of course, some councils might apply restrictions both day and night.

Just make sure to check these times (displayed on nearby signs) before leaving your motor vehicle.

Do parking restrictions apply on bank holidays?

Lots of people think parking specific rules don’t apply on bank holidays, but this isn’t the case.

If signs near single yellow lines say restrictions apply Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm, these rules apply whether it’s a bank holiday or not.

While it’s unlikely, you could still get a parking ticket on bank holidays. The same applies for public holidays like Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Can you stop on single yellow lines?

There’s a difference between “stopping” and “parking” when it comes to single yellow lines.

Unless otherwise stated, you can usually stop for a short time on single yellow lines. 

If you’re leaving your car for more than a matter of minutes, though, this will class as parking — and the normal rules apply.

Can you stop on single yellow lines when delivering or picking-up passengers?

You can normally stop to pick-up passengers on single yellow lines. The same applies for loading and unloading. Just look out for any signs that tell you if stopping and loading are prohibited.

Yellow kerb markings running at a right-angle to the road indicate loading restrictions. If you see these road markings, two lines mean loading isn’t allowed at any time. A single line perpendicular to the kerb means stopping and loading is permitted (within any restrictions specified on a nearby sign).

Can you stop on single yellow lines for 5 minutes?

This depends on what you’re stopping for.

In general, you can load and unload from your car for a maximum of 40 minutes. A parking warden might watch your vehicle (usually 5 minutes for private vehicles and 10 minutes for commercial vehicles or goods vehicles) to check for loading activity.

If they don’t see any loading or unloading activity, your car is “parked”. 

This means usual restrictions (and penalties) apply. Of course, if there’s a loading ban, you can’t stop at all.

Can you park on single yellow lines with a Blue Badge?

A motorist displaying a Blue Badge can normally park on single yellow lines for up to three hours. But as always, different local authorities have different rules. So if you’re in doubt, check with your council. In London or other busy city centres, there could be extra restrictions in specific parking zones or set times.

There are some instances when Blue Badge holders can’t park on single yellow lines. This includes:

  • If your car is obstructing other road users, a footpath, cycle path, or causing a road safety problem.
  • If you haven’t displayed your Blue Badge properly (i.e., it’s not visible or your time-plate doesn’t show the time you arrived). In this case, you might still face a fine.
  • If you leave your car for longer than three hours.
  • If signs say no loading or unloading is allowed.

What’s the difference between single and double yellow lines?

Both single and double yellow lines let you know parking restrictions are in place.

Double yellow lines mean more rules are in place. For instance, the Highway Code states parking and waiting on double yellows aren’t allowed “at any time… even if there are no upright signs.” This is different to single yellow lines, where parking and waiting are permitted at specific times.

While there are some exceptions for stopping and parking on double yellow lines (for instance quickly stopping to drop-off passengers, or parking for Blue Badge Holders), this is at the discretion of local councils.

If in doubt, try and find a nearby car park or designated parking spaces.

What happens if I park on a single yellow line?

If you’re sticking to parking regulations found on nearby street signs, parking on a single yellow line is absolutely fine.

If you park at a time or place where you shouldn’t, you could receive a Penalty Charge Notice. More commonly known as parking tickets, these are fines issued by a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO). You might sometimes hear these officers called Parking Wardens or Traffic Wardens (England and Wales) or Parking Attendants (Scotland).

Some local authorities also use CCTV cameras to monitor areas where parking is a problem.

While there’s no fixed amount, these penalty charge notices are usually around £70. This can rise to £130 (or more) in central London. You normally have 28 days to pay. Most councils offer a reduction (which can be as much as 50%) if you pay within 14 days.

Also read:
Do parking tickets affect insurance?
Single Yellow Line: Your Guide to the Rules and Regs
Where Should You Park Your Vehicle at Night?