SpotHero School Halloween Edition: Unmasking Parking Myths

As Halloween approaches, we find ourselves thinking about myths and legends… parking ones, that is! SpotHero took a look at the most common misconceptions about parking—and found the actual rules.

Parking in front of a fire hydrant is okay if you stay in your car

Parking in front of a fire hydrant is illegal, even if you stay in your car, as a matter of public safety. Cars parked within 15 feet of a hydrant are liable to get a ticket, and many cities will also tow an unattended car in front of a hydrant at the owner’s expense. If you’re unsure if a spot is open, check the curb; if it is painted yellow or red, you cannot park there.

You can park anywhere if you leave your hazards on

Hazard lights are intended to indicate there is an emergency or a problem with the vehicle, so they cannot be used to park wherever or whenever is convenient. Most cities will allow drivers to park with their hazard lights on in designated standing zones, but there is typically a maximum time limit of 15 minutes. Drivers cannot park and leave their hazards on in places like bus and bike lanes, loading zones, and fire lanes, so pay careful attention to nearby signs. If it says “no parking,” you cannot stay parked there, even with hazards on.

Anyone can park in a loading zone if they are loading or unloading something

Most loading zones are for commercial vehicles only, like trucks and delivery vans. Cars found parked or standing in these spots without a commercial license plate or permit are subject to a fine—even if the car is being loaded. Before you park or start to unload a car in a loading zone, check the posted signs. If they say it is for commercial vehicles, you should find another spot.

Everywhere has free parking on Sundays

While many cities offer free parking on weekends and evenings, you should not expect or rely on it. Due to high demand, many high-traffic areas still charge a fee to park on the street during off-peak times. Other spots may offer free parking, but it’s for permitted cars only. Check all the signs before parking to ensure you can leave the car there; failure to pay for a metered spot could result in a ticket!

It’s okay to park in handicapped spaces for a minute

Parking in handicapped spaces without a handicapped parking permit is strictly prohibited and could result in a ticket or even a tow. Plus, it’s inconsiderate to take accessible parking if you don’t need it! Everyone should play their part in creating a more inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disabilities. If you don’t have a handicapped parking permit, don’t risk it. Keep looking for parking or wait for another spot to open up. 

Happy Halloween!