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Driving in the Big Smoke

09 April 2019

Driving around a city, especially when you’re not used to it can cause a certain amount of stress and anxiety…what lane am I supposed to be in? Where can I park? Am I allowed to drive in the bus lane? 

With heavy traffic, a maze of one-way streets and impossible parking spots, it can be a daunting experience but we’ve a few tips to ease the stress:

Plan Ahead


Even though cities are well signposted, it’s easy to get lost with many of us experiencing palpitations. If you’re new to a town/city or simply not used to driving in one, it pays to be be cautious and plan your route in advance.

Using a SatNav may help you remain calm, especially if you’re unsure about where you’re going.  It’s also important to allow extra time if you get delayed or miss a turn.

Parking Predicaments Finally Explained

Where will I park? That never-ending question just gets worse when driving in the city. Again, plan ahead - if you know where you’re going, search for a parking complex before you leave. Don’t be afraid of on-street parking either, it can be a lot easier and cheaper!

Just remember to always make sure you buy and display your ticket clearly on your windscreen - or it’s a sure-fire way of landing yourself with a ticket. Did you know you can use make the payment cashless too? Yes, I said cashless!

Forget scrambling around looking for any spare change, digging around your car floor  and download the Parkmobile app where you don’t have to estimate your parking time as you will be in control of starting and stopping. Watch out though as there may be a time specific time limit you have to adhere to so always keep a look out for local signage for details.

No Return Sign Rules

A lot of parking towns and cities will have parking restrictions signs like 'No return within 1 hour' - that is the max time you’re allowed to park there - if you go over that time, you may get stung with a ticket.

Some signs also state “One hour – No return within two hours”, which can be slightly confusing but it means you’re only allowed to park there for one hour but must leave at least two hours between parking spells.

Single Yellow Line

A single yellow line usually means some form of parking restriction time which should be displayed nearby. You cannot park on one during these certain controlled times. Typically, these times are lifted in the evenings and weekends. Always double-check.

Double yellow Line

No blurred lines here - you simply can’t park on double yellow lines. Although you may be permitted to stop to load or unload, this will also be signposted nearby.

The Dreaded Bus Lanes

Bus lanes are used to speed up public transport that would normally be held up by traffic congestion. Most allow permitted taxis, motorcycles and bicycles and they operate during peak times - typically between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday.

According to the Department of Infrastructure here, outside the hours of operation, the lanes can be used by all traffic. However, if there are no times signposted, then it is a no-go area for normal vehicles.

Remember if you use the bus lane within peak-time hours, and are detected by CCTV cameras, you will be issued with a fine.

Read More: Feel like you’re spending too much on fuel, read this!

Make your Car Crime-Resistant

Wherever you park in town, even if you think it is a safe area: you can’t be too careful. We know endlessly circling a busy city centre looking for a space is frustrating and it’s very tempting to park in the first available space but take a moment or two to think about your car’s safety. Try to park in an area that’s well-lit and would see a lot of pedestrians pass by, this will be a deterrent for thieves and never leave your belongings on show – store handbags, satnavs, dashcams, any other any valuables in your boot, completely out of sight!

Read More: The Number Of Vehicles Stolen Has Risen By 30% In The Past Three Years