yellow lines on a squashed hedgehogCollect/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A new survey has revealed that one in twelve British drivers have successfully appealed a parking fine when they knew they were in the wrong, while over a fifth don't think that breaking parking rules 'counts' as breaking the law.

So should we really be trying to get around the law? And if we're willing to break the rules, what are the most effective excuses for avoiding a fine?

Law-breaking

Clearly there are plenty of rule breakers behind the wheel. The study, by Sheilas' Wheels car insurance found that 10% of us have been caught parking illegally in the past year. Men were the most dishonest when dodging regulations, with 11% admitting they regularly park illegally.

There are those who claim that it's not their fault. Some 39% of Brits said they were regularly confused by parking regulations, with a quarter choosing to completely ignore regulations during weekends or Bank Holidays.

Flouting

However, an alarming number know full well they are breaking the rules, and choose to do so anyway. Around 15% of motorists said they regularly parked illegally as it was easier to risk the fine than buy a ticket or find parking elsewhere. Some 7% of Brits regularly park in 'customer only' parking spaces when they are not a customer and 5% revealed they often park on single yellow lines.


Jacky Brown, at Sheilas' Wheels car insurance, said: "Flouting parking regulations has become a game of cat and mouse between many motorists and parking wardens and often involves people who would never consider themselves as law-breakers."

Meanwhile, 13% have even conspired with their children by using them as 'look-outs' for the parking warden while they were away from the car. Shockingly, 11% of men have even left their parking fine glued to their windscreen so that they can park illegally again without being stung with a second fine. Brown says: "Parking regulations exist for a reason and it's shocking to see the lengths motorists go to in order to avoid being caught out."

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Expensive

If you get caught, the end result can be very expensive. The charge depends on where in the country you are based. For a minor infringement you can expect to pay between £40 and £80 and for something more serious you can be charged between £50 and £130. In most cases, if you pay up quickly, the fine will be halved.

If you are unlucky enough to be caught in a major city and don't act fast you may get towed away - which is when the fines really start to mount. In Bristol, for example, you will be fined £105 as soon as the car is towed, plus a £12 a day storage charge. Add that the the original fine, and an ill-advised parking decision can cost you £150 - even if you remedy it immediately.

A significant minority of Brits are paying heavily for their illegal parking habit. In fact 14% of Brits surveyed have spent up to £100 on parking fines in the past year.

Excuses

However, another major chunk of drivers are parking illegally, getting caught, and then slipping through the net by appealing their fine. Incredibly, 12% said they appealed and were successful, even though they knew the risk they were taking. Londoners seem to be the most dishonest when it comes to dodging regulations, with 17% contesting a parking ticket even when they knew they were in the wrong.

The most popular excuse that saved them a fine was that the regulations were not clear, followed by the fact they were only away for a minute, and the excuse that they were busy looking for somewhere to buy a ticket.

But what about you, do you always park legally, and would you try to dodge a ticket if you were caught breaking the rules? Let us know in the comments.

Top five excuses given for avoiding a parking fine:

1. The regulations were not clear (9%)
2. I was only gone briefly (6%)
3. I was looking for a place to buy a ticket (5%)
4. I had a personal emergency (4%)
5. My ticket went missing (3%)

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