How to report an illegally parked car

How to report an illegally parked car

Cars that aren’t parked correctly can be a nuisance. In more serious cases incorrect parking could actually end up being dangerous. So, if you’re unsure whether you should report an illegally parked car, this blog is for you.

We’re going to break down what illegal parking looks like, why is could be an issue, and how to report it if you see it. So get ready, fasten your seatbelt, and we’ll get started.


What is illegal parking?

The first thing to cover once we’re on the topic of illegal parking is what it actually is? What is an illegally parked car? And what is considered illegal parking?

Before we jump into it, it’s worth noting that if you’re going to report a car for their parking, it’s worth making sure what they’re doing is illegal. Sure, it might be annoying that they’ve taken the convenient spot in front of your house, but if it’s not actually illegal for them to park there, you probably shouldn’t be reporting them.

The Highway Code is a guide that covers using the road in the UK. In it there is plenty of detail on parking and what you shouldn’t be doing. For a grand list of what not to do when it comes to parking a car in the UK it’s always a good idea to take a browse of the Highway Code, but here are some of the highlights. You shouldn’t…

  • Park facing against the flow of traffic on the road
  • Park on an emergency area, carriageway, or a hard shoulder of a motorway
  • Park on a pedestrian crossing or area marked by zig-zag lines
  • Park on taxi bays
  • Park on a road with double white lines
  • Park on a tram or cycle lane or track
  • Park in spaces reserved for specific users like Blue Badge holders, motorcyclists, or residents
  • Park on or near a bus stop or taxi rank
  • Park opposite or within 10 metres of a junction
  • Park where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
  • Park in front of an entrance to a property
  • Park on the pavement, unless signs permit it

Another point to note outside this list is that any car that’s declared as SORN also should not be parking on any public road in the UK, and as such could be reported.


Why would you report an illegally parked car?

All this talk of reporting others might have you feeling a bit like a tattletale and wondering what situation you would actually decide to report an illegally parked car. Well, here are some examples of when you might decide it’s time to give the car a flag.

If you had read of the long list of parking faux pas in the previous section, you might have noticed a couple of mentions of cars blocking emergency areas or access for Emergency Services. If a car’s parked in a way that prevents emergency services from getting through an area, it doesn’t need much explaining how that could end up being a serious situation. Generally, if a car’s parked in a way that could stop someone from using the road correctly (whether it’s a fellow driver, pedestrian, cyclist, etc.) then there is a possibility it could lead to an accident - so it could be the right choice to report it.

On a smaller scale, sometimes cars can be parked in a way that isn’t causing immediate danger, but still isn’t using the road properly. Think along the lines of parking in a spot for a Blue Badge holder, blocking a school entrance, or sitting in a taxi rank when they’re not a taxi. In these cases, it can still be a good idea to report the car.


How to report a car parked illegally?

Once you’ve sussed out whether the car you’re thinking of has parked illegally and decided whether to report it, the next step is actually doing the reporting. So how do you go about doing that? And how to report a SORN car on the road? Or how to report a car blocking your driveway? Well depending on what the car has done to park illegally, who you report it to is probably going to differ.

For the issues that aren’t causing immediate danger, you should typically report the car to your local council. This will probably be in situations like when a car is in a parking space it shouldn’t be using, when you’ve spotted a SORN car, or it’s blocking your driveway. When you make your report you’ll be asked for some information on the car. This could include:

  • The car’s location
  • The date and time you saw it
  • Its registration number
  • Physical details about the car, e.g. it’s make, model, or colour

If the car you’ve spotted has parked illegally in a way that seems more dangerous then it could be a case of reporting it to your local police. This will be for situations where the car is clearly in a dangerous position, like on a pedestrian crossing or blocking a route for emergency services.

To report an illegally parked car to the police you can go online, go to a police station in person, or call 101 (the non-emergency police number). Again, you’ll likely be asked for detail about the car like the ones above.

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A few final tips…

Once you’ve reported the car your report will be investigated. This could be done by a member of your council’s Parking Enforcement team, a parking warden, or a police officer. Then it’ll be in their hands what happens to the car, and its owner could be issued a fine for illegal parking.

Come across an untaxed car? You can check out ‘How to report an untaxed car’ for some top tips.

Looking for some more car top tips? Our blogs on ‘How long is an MOT certificate valid for?’ and ‘What aircon gas is in my car?’ are great places to start!


Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.