Washington parking laws: understanding the basics
Drivers in Washington are responsible for making sure that their vehicles are not hazards when they are driving on the roads, as well as when they are parked. Whenever you park, you need to make sure that the vehicle is far enough off of the travel lanes that it will not interfere with the flow of traffic, and that the vehicle is in an area so it is visible to those who are coming from both directions. For example, you never want to park on a blind curve.
If you do not pay attention to where you are parking, you can be sure that police officers will give it plenty of attention. Parking in illegal areas will result in fines, and they could even decide to tow your vehicle.
Parking laws to keep in mind
It is always advisable to park in a designated parking area when it is possible. When you do have to park alongside the curb, you want to make sure that your wheels are no more than 12 inches from the curb. If the curb is painted white, only short stops are permitted. If they are yellow or red, it means the area is a loading zone, or there is another restriction that means you can’t park.
Drivers are not permitted to park in an intersection, or on a crosswalk or sidewalk. You cannot park within 30 feet of a traffic signal, yield sign, or stop sign. In addition, you cannot park within 20 feet or a pedestrian safety zone. When you are parking in a location with fire hydrants, keep in mind that you need to be at least 15 feet away from them. You also need to be at least 50 feet from a railroad crossing.
If there is construction going on in the road or on the side of the road, you cannot park in the area if there is a chance your vehicle could block traffic.
When parking on a street that has a fire station on it, you need to make sure you are at least 20 feet away from the entrance if you park on the same side of the street. If you are on the opposite side of the street from the entrance, you need to park at least 75 feet away from the entrance.
It is not permissible to park within five feet of a driveway, alley, or private road. In addition, you cannot park within five feet of areas of the curb that have been removed or that have been lowered to make it easier to access. You can’t park on a bridge or overpass, or in a tunnel or underpass.
When you park, make sure you are on the right side of the street, as well. The only exception would be if you were on a one-way street. Remember that double parking, which is where you park on the roadway side of another vehicle that is already parked or stopped, is illegal. The only time you can park on the shoulder of the freeway is in the event of an emergency. Also, do not park in handicapped spaces.
Keep these rules in mind to avoid getting fined and having your car towed.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as The Guide To Colored Curb Zones in Washington and was authored by Valerie Johnston.