Should driveway gates open in or out?

When you are selecting driveway gates, there are many things that you need to take into consideration. You will no doubt have thought about the material that you wish them to be constructed from, the design, or if they should be automated or not. However, have you given any serious deliberation to whether your gates will open inwards or outwards?

As the West Midlands leading wrought-iron gate manufacturer, we are always keen to stress your new driveway gates’ practicalities and legalities. While being aesthetically pleasing is vital, the Highways Act 1980 governs how some gates can open, and failure to comply may result in a court case and a hefty fine. Of course, as a professional company, we will advise you with regards to what you can and can’t do to stop this eventuality from happening.

What the law says

Most people would interpret the law as being common sense and there to protect passersby and road users. Unless the local authority has expressly given permission, the gate cannot open directly onto a public highway, including footpaths. There are some vagaries regarding the degree to which it can open onto the highway, but our advice is that the gate should open inwards to eliminate any potential issues.  

Can gates ever open outwards?

Although the law is quite clear regarding opening onto a highway, this doesn’t mean that a gate can’t open outwards in any circumstances. Of course, it is possible to locate the gate further up your drive, meaning that it doesn’t create any obstruction when it is fully open. It is a standard solution for those with relatively narrow driveways where, for instance, a double gate on a 10 feet wide drive would require each gate having over 5 feet to swing open. In effect, if the gate were located six feet from the highway, you wouldn’t be breaking any rules with the Highway Act 1980.

Of course, another potential problem is where the driveway is short, and there wouldn’t be enough space for the gates to open inwards if a vehicle was parked on the drive. In this scenario, you could make an application to open the gates outwards, or alternatively, look at slight design modifications.

Considerations with inward-opening gates

As we touched upon above, space is a massive consideration with inward opening gates and avoiding damage to vehicles or property is essential. However, this isn’t the only consideration. For example, if your driveway is sloped, you need to ensure that if they open towards the incline, there is enough space under the gate so they can open fully. It may mean lifting the gate slightly, but potentially this could render the gate ineffective depending on the gradient.

Layout considerations

The layout of your driveway, as well as the legal implications, may mean that some gate designs aren’t feasible for your driveway. If you have a particular design in mind but have some possible restrictions, an experienced wrought-iron gate manufacturer will be able to make suggestions regarding alternatives. 

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