Parents are being warned they may face hefty fines when dropping their child off at school due to misunderstanding school parking laws.

Experts are urging parents to ensure they are not left in the dark about school parking laws in order to avoid finding themselves out of pocket.

The multitude of road markings, as well as bans on idling your car outside certain schools, can make navigating school-run parking confusing.

LeaseLoco's CEO, John Wilmot, shares everything you need to know about parking safely and legally outside your children’s school this year.

Zig-zag lines

Yellow zig-zag lines, whether found outside schools, hospitals or police/fire stations, signify a strict no-stopping zone. This means you can’t park there at all – even if the engine is still running. Tempted to stop there for a few seconds while the kids scramble out of the car? Bear in mind that this would be considered a waiting offence which, if you’re caught, could land you with a penalty charge of £70.

Plus, these zig-zag lines serve a crucial purpose. Cars can easily obscure the visibility of young children who are leaving school or need to cross the road. This means kids might not be aware of approaching cars and drivers might not spot them in time, which is highly dangerous.

Double yellow lines

Double yellow lines mean stopping the car and waiting is not permitted at any time unless signs signify otherwise. The only exception to this rule is for blue badge holders, who may park on double yellow lines for up to three hours.

Wondering what the difference between double yellow and zig-zag lines is? With double yellow lines, you can stop briefly to let your kids in or out of the car. But if you stop the engine and park up for an extended time whilst waiting for your kid(s), you could face a fine or you could even have your car towed away.

Single yellow lines

Single yellow lines mean ‘no parking’ rules apply, but only at certain times. You’ll need to check signs near the single yellow lines to understand what restrictions apply, and when. In the areas surrounding schools, it’s highly likely that any restrictions will fall during the school rush hour.

The Highway Code

It’s not just road markings you need to be aware of – there are several highway code rules you need to follow in relation to school parking, too.

According to rule 243, you shouldn’t park in front of or near a school entrance. In addition to this, you shouldn’t park anywhere that would block access to emergency services, at or near a bus stop, or opposite or within 10 metres of a junction, which could all be relevant to the area surrounding a school.

With many schools being based in residential areas, it’s also worth noting that the same rule states you shouldn’t park in front of an entrance to a property, even for a short amount of time.

In addition to this, rule 238 states that you must not park, or stop to pick up passengers, on school entrance markings when signs indicate a prohibition of stopping.