Waiting and parking (238 to 252)

Part of: The Highway Code

Northern Ireland Highway Code rules 238 to 252.


You must not wait or park on yellow lines, during the times of operation shown on the nearby time plates (or zone entry sign if in a Controlled Parking Zone see 'Highway code signs and markings').

Double yellow lines indicate a prohibition of waiting at any time even if there are no upright signs.

You must not wait or park, or stop to set down and pick up passengers, on school entrance markings (see 'Road markings') when upright signs indicate a prohibition of stopping.

Laws RTRO Art 4(5) & R(RW)O



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

  • do not park facing against the traffic flow
  • do 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
  • you must switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights
  • you must apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle
  • you must ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door - check for cyclists or other traffic
  • it is safer for your passengers (especially children) to get out of the vehicle on the side next to the kerb
  • lock your vehicle 

Highway Code for Northern Ireland rule 239 - check before opening your door

Laws CUR regs 113, 121 & 123, RVLR reg 30, RTO 1995 Art 58 & R(RW)O


You must not stop or park on:

  • the carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency (see rule 270)
  • a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zigzag lines (see rule 191)
  • within 15 metres (50 feet) of any junction, except in a lay-by in specified circumstances or in a designated parking area
  • a clearway
  • taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and markings
  • an urban clearway within its hours of operation, even where a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers
  • a road marked with double white lines, except to pick up or set down passengers or to load or unload where this is not prohibited
  • a bus stop marked on the carriageway or bus stop lay-bys unless otherwise indicated by signs
  • a bus, tram or cycle lane during its period of operation
  • a cycle track

Laws RTO 1995 Art 32, RTRO Art 4(5), TSR Art 25, CUR reg 119 & R(RW)O


You must not park in parking spaces reserved for specific users, such as Blue Badge holders, residents or motorcycles, unless entitled to do so.

Laws RTRO Arts 14(1) & 19(1), & CSDPA sect 14B


You must not leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.

Laws RTO 1995 Art 32, RO Art 88 & CUR reg 119


Do not stop or park:

  • near a school entrance
  • anywhere you would prevent access for Emergency Services
  • at or near a bus stop or taxi rank
  • on the approach to a level crossing/ tramway crossing
  • 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.


Do not park partially or wholly on the footway or footpath unless signs permit it. Parking on the footway or footpath can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.

245 (controlled parking zones)

The zone entry signs indicate the times when the waiting restrictions within the zone are in force. Parking may be allowed in some places at other times. Otherwise parking will be within separately signed and marked bays.

246 (goods vehicles)

Vehicles with a maximum laden weight of over 7.5 tonnes (including any trailer) must not be parked on a verge, footway or footpath or any land situated between carriageways, without police permission.

The only exception is when parking is essential for loading and unloading, in which case the vehicle must not be left unattended.

Law RTO 1995 Art 30(1)

247 (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 (see 'Highway Code signs and markings').

This may be permitted where parking is otherwise restricted.

Law RTRO Art 4(5)

Parking at night


You must not park on a road at night facing against the direction of the traffic flow unless in a recognised parking space.

Laws CUR reg 117 & RVLR reg 27


All vehicles must display parking lights when parked on a road or a lay-by on a road with a speed limit greater than 30 mph (48 km/h).

Law RVLR reg 27


Cars, goods vehicles not exceeding 2500 kg laden weight, invalid carriages, motorcycles and pedal cycles may be parked without lights on a road (or lay-by) with a speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) or less if they are:

  • at least 15 metres (50 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.

Laws RVLR reg 27, R(RW)O & CUR reg 94(9)

Parking in fog


It is especially dangerous to park on the road in fog. If it is unavoidable, leave your parking lights or sidelights on.

Parking on hills


If you park on a hill you should:

  • park close to the kerb and apply the handbrake firmly
  • select a forward gear and turn your steering wheel away from the kerb when facing uphill
  • select reverse gear and turn your steering wheel towards the kerb when facing downhill
  • use ‘park’ if your car has an automatic gearbox

Highway Code for Northern Ireland rule 252 - turn your wheels away from the kerb when parking facing uphill. Turn them towards the kerb when parking facing downhill.

Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE)

DPE, already in place in Northern Ireland, is becoming increasingly common throughout the United Kingdom as more authorities take on this role.

The Department for Infrastructure's TransportNI or the local traffic authorities in Great Britain assume responsibility for enforcing many parking contraventions in place of the police.

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