Transporting yourself and your equipment to customers’ homes usually means using a van. For large construction projects you’ll need to make regular deliveries – all of this requires access and, most importantly, parking. While some areas present no problem, with plenty of space available, parking in cities and the middle of towns can be particularly problematic.

With some estates even having restrictions to stop people parking their vans overnight, as reported recently[1], where can you park safely without incurring penalties?

Check the Which? guide to parking tickets and fines for more about your rights if you've got a ticket. Read on for more about parking restrictions.

We’d always recommending checking parking restrictions with your customer when they first contact you. If you can make use of a customer’s driveway or land, you have no need to worry, as you’ll be on their private property.  However, be careful if they share their driveway or access road, as you may need to get permission from other users.

So where can you legally park?

Many parking restrictions are common sense, and as much about being a considerate road user as anything else. We all know the regulations about parking on single yellows (only when the sign tells you it’s OK), double yellows (don’t) and red lines (definitely not, unless in a specific bay where the sign says it’s OK). As long as you’re legally parked, not obstructing traffic or causing a danger to pedestrians or other road users, you can park your van on the road.

The Highway Code has this guidance about where you can park:

Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside:

  • do not park facing against the traffic flow

  • stop as close as you can to the side

  • do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge: remember, the occupant may need more room to get in or out.

DO NOT stop or park:

  • near a school entrance

  • anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services

  • at or near a bus or tram stop or taxi rank

  • on the approach to a level crossing/tramway crossing

  • opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space

  • near the brow of a hill or hump bridge

  • opposite a traffic island or (if this would cause an obstruction) another parked vehicle

  • where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane

  • where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles

  • in front of an entrance to a property

  • on a bend

  • where you would obstruct cyclists’ use of cycle facilities, except when forced to do so by stationary traffic.

This regulation refers specifically to loading and unloading:

  • Do not load or unload where there are yellow markings on the kerb and upright signs advise that restrictions are in place. This may be permitted where parking is otherwise restricted. On red routes, specially marked and signed bays indicate where and when loading and unloading is permitted.

You also can’t park in spaces designated for blue-badge holders, residents or motorcycles, unless you are entitled to do so. For more specific guidance, you can find the Highway Code on the government website.

Councils and private estates will have their own rules in addition to the Highway Code. It’s always worth checking in advance. For example, many councils will allow you to park for 5-20 minutes in order to load or unload goods, as long as your vehicle is attended during that time.

Parking at night

Again, many parking restrictions are a matter of common sense.

You can’t park on a road with a speed limit of 30mph or above at night without displaying parking lights.

If your vehicle doesn’t weight more than 2,500 kg when fully loaded, you can park it without lights on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less if it is:

  • at least 10 metres (32 feet) away from any junction, close to the kerb and facing in the direction of the traffic flow

  • in a recognised parking place or lay-by.

Other vehicles and trailers, and all vehicles with projecting loads, MUST NOT be left on a road at night without lights.

More on this…