Yellow Zig Zag Lines

School Keep Clear road markings were initially introduced in the 1964 Traffic Signs Regulations. They were originally consisting of broken white lines that formed a box containing the words ‘School Entrance’.

In 1975 these markings were changed to the current yellow zig zag lines with the words ‘School Keep Clear’ placed between the zig zag lines.

Due to the success in helping to prevent accidents between motorists and children, these yellow zig zag lines are now seen at the majority of school entrances and exits throughout the UK.

Yellow zig zag lines can also be found at the entrance or exits of hospitals, fire stations, police stations or ambulance stations and are used to indicate the length of road where you should not wait, stop or park a vehicle.

Where there is an upright sign, there is a mandatory prohibition of stopping during the times shown. Yellow and white zig zag road markings are placed to show that the area must be kept clear to allow an unrestricted view for approaching drivers and riders or children wanting to cross the road.

Yellow Zig Zag Lines
Yellow zig zag lines outside of a school

Parking on yellow zig zag lines

It is possible to park on yellow zig zag lines legally under certain circumstances:

  • Yellow zig zag lines with signs

    Yellow zig zag lines outside of a school that have signs erected to inform motorists of the hours of operation will have parking restrictions that are enforced legally by local councils. Signs must be placed near the yellow zig zag lines to allow a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to be effective and will provide the local council with powers to issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by use of CCTV or Civil Enforcement Officers.

    Motorists are legally permitted to park on the yellow zig zag lines outside of the hours marked on the signs, unless other road markings indicate otherwise (see below for further details).

  • Yellow zig zag lines without signs

    Yellow zig zag lines without signs to accompany them do not have a Traffic Regulation Order giving the local council powers to issue PCN fines. Therefor it is technically legal to park on yellow zig zag lines without signs at any time.

    However, these zig zag road markings are placed there to advise motorists not to wait or park on these lines for the safety of children and although the local council do not have the powers to enforce penalties, police frequently issue tickets in such cases. Tickets are issued on the grounds of causing an obstruction to either other motorists or pedestrians and not for parking on the yellow zig zag lines directly.

Yellow zig zag lines with single yellow line

A yellow zig zag line with a single yellow line indicates two sets of instructions must be followed. If the yellow zig zags have a time plate sign as described above to restrict parking and also the restriction placed by the single yellow line.

Single yellow lines have parking restrictions at certain times of the day at certain days of the week. These are detailed by either road-side signs or are part of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). A CPZ is an area with controlled parking instead of a single street. All possible entrances into the CPZ area have signs telling a motorists they are entering a CPZ and restrictions that apply.

Yellow zig zag lines with double yellow line

Restrictions may be in force for the yellow zig zag lines and restrictions for parking due to double yellow lines. Double yellow lines have limited restrictions. Disabled blue badge holders can park for up to 3 hours in areas where no loading restrictions are in place. Motorists and commercial vehicles may unload or load vehicles for a prescribed time outside of restricted loading areas and motorists may stop to drop off or pick up passengers providing there are no stopping restrictions in force.

By default, double yellow lines have the ‘no waiting’ restriction applied 24 hours per day unless otherwise specified by signs. See no stopping and no waiting for an explanation of the both regulations.

Yellow zig zag lines Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) are issued to motorists that do not conform to the rules restricting them from waiting, stopping or parking even to pick up or drop off children to school on yellow zig zag lines if restrictions are in force. Civil Enforcement Officers issue PCNs if restricted parking is dealt with by local councils.

The vast majority of parking or waiting fines in the UK are now enforced as a civil (local council) rather than a criminal (police) matter. A PCN doesn’t result in a criminal record or points on a licence if dealt with by the council.

In areas where the local authority doesn’t have civil parking enforcement powers parking is enforced by the police or police-employed traffic wardens who will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) enforced through the criminal justice system.

Yellow zig zag parking fine

Fines vary due to the location of the offence. Stopping in a restricted area outside a school will result in a higher fine. The fee is halved if paid within 14 days and you have 28 days to pay or challenge.

Can You Park Opposite Yellow Zig Zag Lines?

Yes, you can legally park opposite yellow zig zag lines, though for children wishing to cross the road, doing so would make the process more hazardous. Some schools have yellow zig zag lines on both sides of the road for this specific reason.

Yellow zig zag lines sign
Regulatory yellow zig zag lines sign

Signs found at yellow zig zag lines

Regulatory yellow zig zag lines that have restricted parking enforced by local councils or the police must have a sign to accompany the lines.

Road markings theory test quiz
Take the theory test road markings quiz

Take the theory test road markings quiz

When you feel confident in your ability to understand road markings, take the free road markings theory test quiz and test your knowledge. See Road markings theory test quiz.

Information related to yellow zig zag lines

33 thoughts on “Yellow Zig Zag Lines”

  1. Richard lock

    I pulled over to allow oncoming traffic to pass out side my child’s school whilst on the yellow zig zag lines. I didn’t open my door or put on the hand brake or drop any one off.
    Yet I have received a fine.

  2. Hi Richard,
    I would assume as they are marked ‘School Keep Clear’, that you did not keep clear of the markings and stopped on them. If you feel that you had no alternative but to stop on them, you could contest the fine.

  3. Kiran Hussain

    I opened the door and my children jumped out of my car, I was not parked or stopped on the zig zag lines but the middle of the road. A community police officer said I was not allowed to stop near the line either ? Is that right?

  4. Technically the law applies to the road markings only and only if the markings have a Traffic Regulation Order applied to them (you’ll see a sign if there is). Though you do need to consider, law or no law that this area is a place that children, often difficult to see and inexperienced road users frequently cross. Drivers that stop to pick up and alight passengers in these areas are particularly hazardous to the children.

  5. Sarah

    Hi there are zig zag school keep clear lines outside our school but no signs up with times etc so could you be fined for parking on them there is also no single or yellow double lines

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I don’t know why it’s not mandatory to make it illegal to park on all zig zag lines outside of schools, but it’s only the zig zag lines that have a sign (Traffic Regulation Order) that can be enforced. Having said that, if a driver is being a general nuisance and hazard, they could be ticketed with obstruction, driving without reasonable consideration for other road users etc.

  7. Paul

    If you have a disabled blue badge is it still illegal to stop/wait on the yellow zigzag or is this permitted for a limited time as with double yellows?

  8. Hi Paul,
    If there is a Traffic Regulation Order sign displaying the times that it is prohibited to park, it applies to all motorists. If there is no sign, then technically you can stop legally – though doing so is not particularly safe outside of schools during the start or end of their day.

  9. Doug

    i pulled over for a maximum stay of 30 seconds, to drop off my child to school. there are no officers, however there are cameras vigilating the spot. it was a school entrance with a single yellow line. will i face 3 points?

  10. Hello Doug,
    The reason for not stopping on zig zags is because children are small and often cross the road at these areas. When you pull off in your car, it’s very easy to not spot a child crossing in front of you and collide with them. You wont receive any penalty points, but there may be a fine involved.

  11. Zoe

    Hi,I live in flat tipe house and each flat have a allocated parking area,howerver on one side of the parking area is painted yellow zig zag lines with sign written between them- no parking,if visitors would park the car there would they been charged PCN fines?

  12. Hi Zoe,
    If the area is operated by a local authority and the signs are a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), then those parking on them may be issued a PCN. If the area is private property, then this would be down to whomever owns it.

  13. aggie

    Hi i have driven very slowly in the middle of the road where the ‘school keep clear markings’ were on the side of the road. I have briefly stopped for max 5-10seconds trying to establish parking space as on the opposite side of the road to the markings were parking spaces (fully parked)
    At no point i have set one tyre on the markings i was constantly in the middle of the road with markings to my left and parked cars to my right side.
    I still received the ticked based on my few seconds pause in moving. Surely markings do not apply to the entire road space (simply because on the other side are parking spaces) and only to the area covered by the marking
    If it did as the council claims how would one know the border? as vehicles may be u turning queuing up to the junction ect, surely the middle of the road is for that use

  14. Hi Aggie,
    The markings will apply to that entire side of the road as do most regulation markings, so even if you were in the middle, you technically would still have been on that side of the road to some extent. It only takes a couple of seconds for a small child to cross in front of a car and for the driver to move off not noticing. You would certainly not want to be making a u-turn in this area. If possible, it’s best to avoid parking around schools at pick up / drop off time, it’s safer and helps to keep pollution down too.

  15. Vicki

    Hi – as i was approaching a junction i slowed down on keep clear signs as there was queuing traffic. My daughter jumped out even though i wasn’t parked and in the middle of the road and i have been issued with a PCN, i have appealed against this but it has been rejected basically because she jumped out.
    The school doesn’t use that entrance and hasn’t done for a good 7/8 years, it is gated and locked at all times and the road marking are faded. The mounted sign is newish but not at the start of the road markings. Are the council allowed to issue notices even though the school no longer uses that entrance?

  16. Sam

    Hi, I am going to be moving into a property soon and there is yellow zig zag markings outside the property. as the street is small and has a lot of cars. Would I be able to park my car on these.

  17. Hi Sam,
    Why are there yellow zig zag lines outside the property? These lines are usually outside of school / fire station entrances. Technically it’s not illegal to park on them unless there’s a Traffic Regulation Order sign that states the times that it’s prohibited to park there.

  18. Sara

    we have yellow zig zag lines outside the school but there is a gap in them, enough for 3 cars length – can I stop there as no lines?

  19. Hello Sara,
    Yea, if the gap is intentional, so in other words, the zig zags either side have been terminated. If the gap is just a bit worn, then it would be best to avoid.

  20. Kaj

    Is that possible the police can take 3 points form my licence for dropping my kids at school entrance markings?

  21. Hello Kaj,

    If there are signs accompanying the yellow markings (Traffic Regulation Order), then yes they can give you 3 penalty points. If there are no signs, it would have been considered that you had stopped your vehicle in a dangerous / hazardous position, or that you were causing an obstruction. Children often cross the road around the school entrance / yellow zig zag markings area. As children tend to be small, it’s not always very easy to see them when moving off in your vehicle.

  22. Paul Anderson


    Not sure if this post is still active, however I wanted to ask if the school parking zones ( yellow zig zags ) are still in effect when the school is closed? The day in Question would have been an in service day when the school was closed for voting.

  23. Hello Paul,
    Do the yellow zig zag lines have a time plate sign (Traffic Regulation Order) accompanying them? These signs illustrate what times you must not park on them, regardless of whether the school is closed or open. If there’s no traffic regulation order sign, then legally you can park on them whenever you wish, though this is of course highly unadvisable during school start and finishing times.

  24. Sandris

    I just received 2 letters of my car picture on the middle of the road where can see I let my missis out from my car so she can go and pick up kids.At the same time I drive around the school to park my car and pick I’m my kids.

  25. Jon

    Hello I was turning right outside a school with zigzag lines on the road which was on the left. The right turn in bang in the middle of the lines, I came to a stop before turning right due to an oncoming vehicle. Will I still get a fine as an officer took a photo of my vehicle

  26. Hello Jon,
    You shouldn’t do as you were stopping in accordance with normal driving, just as you would stop on white zig zag lines at a pedestrian crossing if there is a queue of traffic. Provided that you didn’t stop on the yellow zig zags to let out a passenger or wait for any other reason, then I can’t see an issue. Seems strange that the officer took your photo if that is indeed the case.

  27. Colin

    I stopped outside the school when ordered to do so by the lollipop lady. While stopped, my child left the car. I drove away once the lollipop lady waved me on. I received a penalty notice from the council. I lost an adjudicators appeal. There are yellow zig-zag lines outside the school but no signs. Are the council allowed to issue a penalty in these circumstances?

  28. Hi Colin,
    Generally speaking, if there are signs accompanying the yellow zig zags, it’s the council’s responsibility to deal with offending motorists. If there are no signs, though it’s not technically illegal, it would be a matter for the police to deal with drivers causing an obstruction, dangerous parking etc. Yet you did receive a penalty notice from the council which would suggest you must have entered a restricted zone. Additionally, the council managed to get your registration details, which were either provided by the crossing patrol person or there are cameras in the area.

  29. Colin

    Thanks for your reply. If you are stopped by the school crossing patrol, and while stopped your child jumps out of the car, is this an offence? I can’t find the exact wording of the law.

  30. Hi Colin,
    I’m with you on this. Not sure of the specifics of the law as I cannot seem to find anything relating to your situation. As you say, you have legally stopped by the school crossing patrol, so I’m a little unsure where alighting a passenger would come into it. It could be considered potentially hazardous to allow a child to alight during such circumstances, but where the specifics of the law come into that, I’ve no idea. Could you ask the council who issued you the ticket for specifics? Would be interesting to know.

  31. Hello … I have and still have extreme difficulty getting my daughter into school ..on numerous times in the past when i,ve parked away from the school extrance she has run away .. she will fight scream,refused to get out etc .. on this day I had to take my father with me to help get her in school ,just prior to stopping she had indicated by her mannor she did intend to run off if given the chance she is 13yrs old and I always do my best to get her in.. I deliberately waited until all other children were in school before I stopped as close to the entrance , and with the help of my father we managed to convince her to go in..On getting into school she immediate ran off and I had extreme difficulty locating her .. My father although he had come to help has is 66yrs old with sight issiues so he remained in the car in the passenger seat .. When I came out the police man had just arrived and did not witness the problems I had with her .. he didn,t even speak to my father who could have told him what had happened .. The police man told me I would be recieving a penalty in the post … The school should be able to verify what I have said re her attendence problems .. If I get a penalty what should I do .. Help … Sara

  32. Hi Sara,
    The conflict use of the yellow zig zag lines here is that they’re intended to protect children walking to or from school and not those that park on them. You did say that you waited until all the children were in school before stopping on the lines, but once you had left the immediate area, you’d have had no idea if there were any other children arriving late. It does sound like a difficult predicament that you’re in, but if you receive a fine, then I’d advise you to pay and not contest it.

    Due to your difficult predicament, could the school allow special dispensation, such as permission to use the teachers car park or something similar?

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