Parking Lights and Night Time Parking




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As a general rule, parking can be an issue for a lot of people. There are so many different rules and then different councils can implement different rules in each county turning parking into a bit of a nightmare. But don’t panic we have you covered.

There are specific rules around parking at night that should be followed. Many do not follow them. This might be that they do not know the rules to the full extent. It is important to note that vehicles should not be parked dangerously and that they do not pose a potential hazard to other road users or pedestrians. And its worth noting that a vehicle that does not comply with the Highway Code when parking at night is at risk of being issued with a non-endorsable penalty charge notice by the police if they do not comply with Code.

types of parking lights

What are parking lights?

Often termed as side lights, these are the smaller lights found on the corners of the car. These lights are not as bright as headlights and are generally used to make sure other drivers can see them rather than them see other drivers. They are also used as parking lights and in certain situations required by law to leave them on even when you have parked your vehicle.

Whats the symbol for parking lights?

Parking lights always have a symbol shaped like two semi-circles or ovals each with 3 lines that are supposed to be light shining from it. The symbol is normally green.

symbol for parking lights
Symbol for parking lights

How do I use my parking lights correctly?

When you’re leaving your car unattended in the dark, using your parking lights properly is one of the most important safety fundamentals that you need to keep in mind.

In today’s cars, the majority of light switches are either found on the dashboard, on the right-hand side of the steering wheel, or on the end of the indicator stalk, depending on the model. By rotating the dial into the correct position, you can turn on and off your parking lights turning the dial in the desired direction.

When should you display sidelights?

  1. As implied by their name, sidelights should be used used when parking at night on a road. It’s advisable to turn on your sidelights at night when you’re parking on the side of a busy road. This will help other drivers to see you easily, avoiding any potential accidents
  2. If one of your headlights goes out, it’s a good idea to turn on your sidelights. While they won’t give you much additional light, they will help other drivers spot you on the road. Plus, they’ll also know that you’re a car and not a motorcycle, so they can give you all the room you need.
  3. Some drivers use sidelights when it’s simply not dark enough to switch your headlights on. Sidelights won’t be able to light up the road ahead, but you will make yourself visible to other drivers. A great example of this is on a cloudy day.

Where can you park large vehicles at night without using parking lights?

For goods vehicles with a weight of 1,525 kilograms or less, the rules about parking at night are the same as for cars with a weight of 1,525 kilograms or less. If you’re parked safely and on a road with a speed limit of 30 mph, you won’t need parking lights. 

“Safe” has a specific definition. Park in a recognized parking bay or space. It’s advisable to be at least 10 meters from a junction and close to the curb. Its also always advised to be facing the traffic flow.

For vehicles weighing over 1,525 kilograms, the rules are stricter. Parking lights must be installed on all roads.

Leaving your sidelights on for a long time will drain your battery. Parking on the street all night isn’t realistic for larger vehicles. Instead, find a parking spot. 

This is why off-road lorry parks are the best option because they usually have better security measures in place keeping you safe as well.

Has any one been fined for not using parking lights?

Side lights being used is often seen as a grey area and some may say never seen being used. Luckily police and authorities approach this using common sense and don’t seem to issue fines regularly. But lets not forget these laws were put in place for a reason and therefore should be followed.


The highways code states we should not park against the flow of traffic without using parking lights. This is because the vehicle reflectors may be missed from oncoming vehicle particularly in an unlit area. People do not generally seem to get fined for not following this rule. Luckily authorities also seem to follow some common sense with this aswell. Saying this though if you did park against the flow of traffic without following the rules in the highway code and it leads to a collision you may then fined your self in hot water so to speak.

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