Parking Near Private Driveway: What is the Law?
I would like to know if there is a legal limit to how close you can park next to a driveway? I have issues with my neighbours parking partially over and completely blocking my driveway, which restricts exit and entrance. I also have a tree to contend with and a busy road. I have come to the end of my tether but don't want to upset anyone (unlike my neighbours!)
Parking over and blocking a driveway belonging to someone else is one of the most common reasons that people end up falling out with their neighbours. It's rude, discourteous and can cause a whole lot of problems, especially if access to the driveway is completely blocked in either direction.
When faced with this situation, many homeowners try to fight fire with fire and come out brandishing a copy of the Highway Code which in paragraph 243 requests that motorists "DO NOT PARK in front of an entrance to a property".
However, if they take things further and report the offender to the police - it often comes as a big surprise to find out that it isn't actually illegal for a motorist to park in front of a private driveway, despite what you think the Highway Code is saying. The important thing to pay attention to is the language used in the rulings. If 'DO NOT' or ‘SHOULD NOT’ is used, then this is advisory and should be followed however if not followed although no prosecution will be made against an individual it can be used as evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability. However, if the rule states 'MUST NOT' then this is a legal requirement and the driver must therefore obey it or if caught or reported, face legal action.
So, ultimately, this is down to a question of courtesy and respect between you and your neighbours. If you do suffer from a repeat offender who insists on blocking your driveway then do be careful. As you may not backed up by law, the best thing you can do is to approach them calmly and try to sort out the situation amicably. If they aren't interested, or continue to ignore you and park in front of your property, blocking your access, then unfortunately the only thing you can do to ensure that you have full access to your drive is to park somewhere else - perhaps, if you're a fan of irony and you can get there first, even in front of your own driveway. If you do this often enough they'll probably get bored and give up.
It does seem incredibly unfair that someone can do this when you have forked out for a home with somewhere safe to park your car off the road - and if you are blocked ONTO your drive, then you might find a kind police officer who will make enquiries for you, contact the owner and ask them to move their vehicle. However the police are not bound to act as according to the Highway Code every driver has a right to park anywhere on a public highway except those places which are expressly forbidden.
Not only are there rules about parking on driveways there are plenty other ‘parking and stopping’ rules that must be taken into consideration, when you think you’ve mastered the physics of parking by getting as close to the kerb as possible or reversing into a space just remember there’s a whole host of rules and regulations to be aware of to prevent that potential parking penalty. So, whether you’re brushing up on your knowledge or are a new driver wanting to learn the rules and regulations around parking then this guide should help you determine where you can and can’t park or stop.
Starting with the rules around off-street parking areas and parking bays so whether you’re popping into your local shops, parking your car for the night, or stopping to collect someone these could all apply. When using off street parking or parking bays ensure the area is marked with white lines which indicate you have the permission to park or stop in such area. Here are some rules highlighted in the Highway Code but remember the DO NOT & MUST NOT rules.
- DO NOT park face against the traffic flow
- Stop as close as you can to the side
- You MUST switch off your engine and headlights
- Ensure you look before opening your door in case of cyclists
Following on examples of DO NOT park or stop rules are as followed
- Near entrance to a school
- Anywhere you will prevent access for Emergency Service
- At or near a bus or taxi stop
- On the approach of a level crossing
- Opposite or within 10 metres of a junctions
- Near a brow of a hill or bridge
- Where the kerb has been lowered for wheelchair access
- In front of the entrance to a property (referenced above)
- On a bend
These seem very self-explanatory right? Now let’s move on to the MUST NOT rules which remember these are obligatory and can result in legal action if not followed.
You MUST NOT stop or park
- On a carriageway or hard shoulder unless of emergency
- A pedestrian crossing including the areas marked with zig zag lines
- Taxi bays
- An urban clearway within its hours of operation with the exception to pick up and drop off passengers
- A tram or cycle lanes in hours of operation
- Red lines
- Park in spaces allocated to blue badge holders or residents
- Leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous location where it causes unnecessary obstruction
- On yellow lines in hours of operation
Just remember never assume you can park in a particular situation from one location to another, always make sure that you are following the relevant regulations – you can usually do this by looking at a lamp or parking posts in the area which have supplementary plates attached providing parking restrictions.
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Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article published February 2022.