Even though you might not realize it, a big part of driving is knowing where you can and cannot park legally. If you are illegally parked, you may end up having your car towed. At the very least, you will be facing a ticket and a fine. You can avoid these issues though as long as you learn some of the most important parking laws in West Virginia.
There are many areas where you are not allowed to stop, stand, or park your vehicle unless you have to do it to avoid conflict with another vehicle, when following the rules of traffic signals, or when a police officer tells you to pull over. The following are places where you cannot park.
Parking laws to know
Drivers are not allowed to park on sidewalks, crosswalks, or within intersections, which should be common sense for most people. You are also prohibited from parking in front of a public or a private driveway. Parking in front of them would not allow other drivers to come in and out of the driveway. This could be a real inconvenience, and potentially a hazard for other vehicles.
Never park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. The fire engines will need to access it in the event of an emergency, and they do not have the time to waste with your vehicle. You should never stop within 30 feet of any traffic signal or stop sign. Be careful when you are pulling up to a curb so you do not park in front of a curb cut or a wheelchair ramp. You also need to keep at least 50 feet away from the nearest rail of a railroad crossing when parking.
If there is an obstruction in the road, or if there is an street excavation on the road, you can’t park in the area if it would disrupt or obstruct traffic further. Do not park on any bridge or other elevated structure, or in a highway tunnel.
You need to be parked at least 20 feet away from any mailbox served by mail carriers using a vehicle for their deliveries. You cannot stop or park on the roadway side of any vehicle that is already stopped or parked. This is called double parking, and it is against the law, as well as hazardous. It also tends to slow or even stop traffic while you are parked there.
Keep in mind that there may be some city and town ordinances that are different from the state laws. The local laws, as well as their fine schedule, will supersede the state rules. It is a good idea to learn the local laws so you do not have to worry about getting a ticket or returning to the spot where you parked your car only to find that it has been towed.
You should never stop or park in any location where your vehicle could become a hazard or where it could block or disrupt traffic. Always look for official signs that prohibit parking as well. In some cases, no parking zones will be painted yellow on the curb.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as West Virginia Parking Laws: Understanding the Basics and was authored by Valerie Johnston.