Single Yellow Lines

Yellow lines whether single or double are used to indicate to motorists that waiting restrictions are in force.

The basic fundamentals of double and single yellow line rules are the same. The difference between single and double yellow lines in their basic form are that double yellow lines indicate no waiting at any time (other than a very few exceptions) and single yellow lines indicate a part time waiting restriction in force.

With what appears to be ever increasing numbers of Civil Enforcement Officers (Traffic Wardens), it’s never been more important to have a good knowledge of yellow road lines so as to avoid those expensive parking fines.

Single yellow lines are placed at the sides of roads to prevent motorists parking in particular areas to aid in preventing traffic congestion at certain times of the day or days of the week.

Single yellow line parking rules

Single yellow line rules state that a restriction is imposed for motorists to park or wait within the controlled times displayed. Yellow time plate signs are placed adjacent to inform drivers of the times of day they are not permitted to park. If the yellow time plate does not display any days of operations, this will imply the restriction is in force on each day of the week as can be seen in the images.

Single yellow lines time restricted sign
Single yellow line with time plate sign waiting restrictions in force between 8am – 6pm every day of the week
Single yellow lines
Single yellow line with time plate sign waiting restrictions in force between 8am – 6:30pm Monday – Saturday

Parking on single yellow lines on Sundays or Bank holidays
Single yellow line restrictions are enforceable on the times and days displayed on the time plate sign. If the days on the sign are listed Mon – Sat for example, it is not permitted to wait or park on bank holidays during the times stated. Sundays are acceptable however.

Exceptions to parking on single yellow lines

There are however some exceptions for parking on a single yellow line where certain circumstances within law allows it to become legal even within the restricted times displayed on the yellow time plate. These are as follows:

  • Vehicles loading or unloading whilst on single yellow lines
    You are able to load/unload on a single yellow line during the restricted waiting times providing that this activity is continuous. This is typically 20 minutes for private vehicles and small commercial vehicles and 40 minutes for heavy goods vehicles. Continuous loading activity must be apparent at all times, otherwise a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) may be issued. It is only permissible if there are no loading restrictions in place.
  • Picking up or dropping off passengers on single yellow lines
    Providing picking up and dropping off passengers is continuous without waiting, you are permitted to pick up or drop off passenger on a single yellow line within its restricted waiting times.
  • Disabled blue badge holders parking on single yellow lines
    Disabled blue badge holders are permitted to park on a single yellow line within its hours of waiting restrictions for a maximum of 3 hours.

Penalty Charge Notice and single yellow lines

Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) is the name given to the fine motorists are issued that do not conform to the rules for single yellow line parking restrictions. With the exception of a commercial or non-commercial vehicle loading or unloading in a unrestricted time or area and a blue badge holder that is not parked in a loading restricted area, a Civil Enforcement Officer will usually wait for around 3-5 minutes before issuing a PCN although if the vehicle is left unattended, a PCN will often be issued immediately.

A PCN will almost certainly be issued immediately if a vehicle is stopped in a loading and unloading restricted area or within its restricted time zones. Restricted times zones are put in place on single yellow lines to prevent obstruction to the flow of traffic and to aid in less congested roads.

Single yellow line parking fine

Single yellow line parking fines if parked inside the restricted times or in restricted loading areas are usually £60 (or more) and if paid within 14 days, is reduced by 50% This may however vary depending on which council area your PCN was acquired.

Parking, stopping or loading on single yellow lines

Kerb markings, also known as kerb chevrons or blips may be located alongside a single double yellow line. Kerb markings such as those shown below inform motorists that there are loading restrictions and that no loading or waiting is permitted for any motorists during the times show on the time plate sign.

Kerb marking on single yellow line
Kerb marking on single yellow line

Kerb marking on single yellow line

The prohibition of waiting shown on the upper yellow panel on the time plate applies in both directions. The prohibition of loading shown on the lower white panel of the time plate applies only in the direction of the arrow.

In the other direction, loading is permitted at all times. The arrow applies only to the white panel on which it is placed, not to the entire time plate. There is no transverse mark on the single yellow line because the waiting restrictions do not change.


Kerb marking on single yellow line in both directions
Kerb marking on single yellow line in both directions

Kerb marking on single yellow line in both directions

The prohibition of waiting shown on the yellow time plate applies in both directions. No loading to the left during morning and evening peak hours on the days shown. No loading to the right from morning to evening on the days shown. The white plates with arrows are placed at the changeover point. There is no transverse mark on the single yellow line because the waiting restrictions do not change. The times shown for peak periods and day-time restrictions may vary.


Kerb marking no loading on single yellow line
Kerb marking no loading on single yellow line in both directions

Kerb marking no loading on single yellow line in both directions

No waiting to the left during morning and evening peak hours. No waiting to the right from morning to evening on the days shown. No loading during morning and evening peak hours in both directions. The changeover point for the waiting restrictions is shown by the transverse mark on the single yellow line.


Learner drivers during the driving test

During the driving test, your driving examiner will not ask you to park anywhere illegal such as on single yellow lines during restricted times in an attempt to see if you park illegally. They will only request that you stop the car on the left in a location that is legal to stop.

Loading / unloading on single yellow lines

If stopping on a single yellow line to load or unload during restricted hours, ensure there are no kerb markings that enforce no loading during your stop. Try to keep the time away from your vehicle to an absolute minimum from around 2 – 3 minutes. The longer you are away from your vehicle the higher the possibility of a PCN fine. Other than Civil Enforcement Officers, CCTV in some areas is also used to gain evidence in issuing motorists with a PCN by recording their actions and number plate details.

Many think that it is permissible to stop or park on a single yellow line from 6pm, on Sundays or bank holidays. Although this may be the case in a particular area, it is dependent on either the restrictions within a certain controlled parking zone (CPZ) or the time plate sign placed adjacent the yellow line.

Information related to road lines and markings

6 thoughts on “Single Yellow Lines”

  1. Barbara Same

    Dual carriageway, double yellow line, single yellow pip, unloading rules-sign stating No unloading Monday to Friday 4pm to 6pm, private car – Does the 20 minute rule apply on a dual carriageway i.e. can a car park on double yellow lines alongside the kerb with single yellow marking within the nearside lane to continuously unload car outside of day/time restrictions on sign and within the 20 minute limit?

  2. Hi Barbara,
    Trying to understand the road layout you’re referring to.
    Most dual carriageways are clearways, so if there’s a clearway sign, you must not stop unless in a layby.
    In terms of double yellow lines, the restriction applies to either side of them, so for example parking off the road on a kerb where double yellow lines are present is prohibited. On the road side, this prohibition applies from the lines to the centre of the carriageway.

  3. james Ellis

    What if there is no yellow time sign but there is single yellow line

  4. Hi James,
    Regulation states that there must be either a time plate or if not, the single yellow line must be within a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). At the start of the CPZ there should be a plate stating that you are entering the area and the rules that apply.

  5. Robert P Nyman

    Is a warden entitled to issue a pcn immediately or is there a period of grace waiting time?

  6. Hi Robert,
    Generally, if it’s within prohibited times of a single yellow line, then a warden can issue a PCN immediately. The only exception is if you were to pick up or drop off a passenger. However, this would need to be an immediate and continuous action, so for example, it would not include waiting (for a passenger to arrive) in order to pick them up.

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