Where can I park my car?

There is a difference between parking your car and stopping your car by the side of the road. Obviously, both have to be done legally and comply with the rules of the Highway Code, however, you will come across instances while driving where it is safe to pull up by the side of the road to collect a passenger or unload something, but it wouldn’t be safe to park your car there over night.

Signs you should look out for

Permit Holders Only Sign

Permit Holders Only

Parking is restricted to permit holders. This can be confusing for many people, particularly those who don’t live in large towns or cities. These are very commonly found in busy cities where parking by the side of the road is limited.

For more information on Permit Holders Only, click here.

Periodic No Stopping Sign

Red Route

No stopping during the period indicated. The only vehicles that are allowed to stop on these routes are buses to pick up and drop off passengers.

Urban Clearway Sign

Urban Clearway

No stopping during the times shown except for as long as necessary to set down or pick up passengers.

For more information about Urban Clearways, click here.

No Waiting Sign

No waiting

This sign essentially means you shouldn’t stop your car to pick up, drop off or unload the car in the area.

To get more information about No Waiting signs, click here.

No Stopping (Clearway) Sign

No stopping

You are not permitted to stop the car in this area.

To find out more about No Stopping (Clearway) signs, click here.

Other things to look out for

Areas where it is unsafe to park your car:

  • Parking within 10 metres of a junction.
  • Where your vehicle will cause an obstruction or danger.
  • Parking on a pavement or verge/grass bank. On a driving test, you must not touch the kerb when stopping by the side of the road.
  • Blocking someone’s driveway.
  • Don’t park opposite someone’s driveway unless they can enter and exit easily.
  • Avoid parking on bends or brows of hills where other road users may not be able to see you easily.
  • Don’t park or stop in bus stops or too close to school crossings, pedestrian crossings, near roadworks (look out for signs for guidance).
  • On a narrow road, single track road or major dual carriageways.
  • Slip roads or hard shoulders.

Finding a safe place to stop on your driving test

During your driving test, your driving examiner will ask you to pull up on the left several times. In some instances, the examiner will say, “Please pull up on the left here, just before [a roadside feature such as a lamp post].”

When the examiner asks you to pull up next to a specific roadside place such as a lamp post or behind a parked car, you should do your best to follow what they say.

Don’t worry – they’re not trying to catch you out. They may just want to see you move away safely from behind a parked car (known as an angled start or angled moving off). They may want to see you perform a hill start or see how you cope with moving away safely on a moderately busy road.

In these instances, it’s not uncommon for the examiner to ask you to stop next to a driveway briefly or a dropped kerb.

If the examiner says, “Pull up on the left at a safe place where you would leave your car”, then you should put on your thinking cap and refer to the list mentioned earlier (unsafe areas to park your car).

During your test, the examiner may even ask you to pull up on the right, but this will be counted as a manoeuvre. The examiner will ask you in good time and will say the following, “I would like you to pull up on the right when it is safe to do so.”

Top Tip

Sometimes the examiner will ask you to pull up on the left at a safe place on a road with various junctions opposite.

Some people might say the examiner is trying to catch you out and others will say if you’re good you should be observant and not stop opposite junctions.

Whichever way you look at it, just check the right hand side of the road before applying the MSPSL routine to pull up on the left. If you stop opposite or too close to a junction you will more than likely fail the test.

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