Anyone who’s ever parked in a city, town, or suburb has gotten a parking ticket at some point. If you’re reading this article, that means you probably have one right now. Parking tickets are a fact of life for anyone who drives and parks their car in the city. It doesn’t matter how careful you are about reading signs and noting posted times—if you park somewhere you shouldn’t, it’s only a matter of time until an alert meter maid spots your car and leaves a ticket on your windshield. Thankfully, there are some things about parking tickets that almost everyone knows. For instance.
Do Parking Tickets Go On Your Record?
Well, according to the Urban Dictionary, a parking ticket is a piece of plastic you get stuck on your windscreen for parking somewhere you shouldn’t park. Many people are confused about the ‘parking ticket goes on your record’, but there is no such thing because the parking ticket is not a fine and therefore will not go on your record.
Don’t Forget to Read the Signs
- It’s perfectly fair to get a parking ticket if you park in a lot that has a sign clearly stating that it’s for customers only. At the same time, though, there is nothing more infuriating than getting a ticket when you don’t realize there is a sign saying how long your car can be parked there. If something like this has ever happened to you, it might be wise to invest in a high-quality pair of reading glasses. They will allow you to read the fine print on signs and see exactly what hours your particular parking lot is open or closed.
- A lot of meters these days are not operated by coins anymore—they operate on digital cards instead. To pay your way out of the ticket trap, just look up what time your meter expires and put as many coins in as you need as quickly as possible before jumping back in your car and driving away.
- No worries! Around one-third of cities, and major cities allow drivers to pay for their parking tickets with credit cards now anyway! If yours does not, it might be time for you to do some shopping around and start getting familiar with different cities and towns to find out which ones do allow it!
- If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going to be late for an appointment, and you know you won’t have time to move your car before the parking laws kick in, it might be a good idea to contact your local draft board. If they’ve drafted someone in the last two years, they’re allowed to use their parking spot while they’re at war! Just make sure to check with them – sometimes they need it more than other times!
- Always avoid parking your car overnight on the street or anywhere that isn’t designated for overnight or long-term parking. It’s illegal in most cities and is an easy way for a ticketing officer to identify whether or not one of your neighbors is completely ignoring their parking privileges! Unfortunately, some people view any amount of time that they spend parked as “overnight” so those who are at least back by 10 pm can call it a night without receiving one of these tickets. The problem is that it’s about 4 hours past their time to move the car – which should be enough time for most people to get home from work!
- Also be aware of the signs. If a sign is posted on the street that makes reference to a parking restriction and you’re parked there, even if it doesn’t have a posted time limit, you very well might get yourself into hot water! For example, if a sign says “one-way streets must park with wheels facing traffic” and you are parked with your wheels facing in the same direction as one-way traffic, you could probably get yourself a ticket.
Check the Timing of Your Meter
- Hopefully you’ve already begun exploring your town’s website and found an area that discusses parking violations, but if you haven’t, begin to do so now. Most cities and towns have some sort of section that covers general ticketing offenses, the law of the land when it comes to what you can and cannot do. They might even have an easy-to-read parking guide that you can print out and take with you!
- If, like me, your city is all about greener pastures than interacting with its residents this is just a cover-up for how lazy they are – I strongly suggest calling the phone number provided instead of spending two hours surfing their website for answers!
- Unfortunately most cities not like New Mexico or Vermont realize their ticket traps are needed for fundraising purposes only! Almost all cities claim to need those funds, but if it weren’t for them there would be no need to look down on 7:55 am drivers or even park in front of a fire hydrant!
- To properly use your meter, first insert coins as necessary into it according to the posted price for that area at any given time. There should also be a chart in which there is shown what amount of time each coin value will get (usually 20 minutes). If you find that your meter expires before time runs out again, just put another coin or two into the machine until it recognizes enough has been inserted to cover the hours you need.
- If you run out of time while using your meter, it would be wise to not just throw a few coins into the machine and move on with your day. This could lead to a ticket being placed on your car, or even worse make it much more difficult for you when it comes time to return to your vehicle! If you know that you are going to need an extra 15 minutes but cannot put in another coin, try removing any coins that are already there and then put in the new ones. This trick is one that I find especially useful when visiting large cities such as NYC where parking can get fairly expensive!
- If for whatever reason your meter does not take coins but does take a card of some sort, read all information regarding payment options and pricing before inserting anything into the machine. Be sure not only that it will work with cards, but also ensure that card is acceptable at this particular meter so as not to have any unwanted charges added to your account unnecessarily!
Know Your Rights
- The “obey traffic devices” sign at the beginning of each block is there to ensure that drivers are aware of every intersection they are approaching. The sign also provides you with the ability to gauge your speed properly including whether or not you need to slow down or stop completely to make it through any given intersection. You are not required to go any faster than what is posted on the street signs, even if your life depends on it!
- It is perfectly legal for a driver to make a right turn on red after coming to a complete stop first. The only time this would be illegal would be during times when a sign specifically prohibits such action, such as in heavy traffic situations. If you do happen upon such an intersection where turning right on red is prohibited and proceed without stopping, you may receive a ticket in the mail from your local city or even state police department!
- Always try and keep in mind that road crews and police officers are human too – therefore if you ever find yourself getting angry with them for causing traffic delays, just think about how fast they have had to work just to get their hands on that orange vest, utility truck, and high-visibility vest! Or how fast an officer has to run around doing his or her “beat” while chasing after speeders every day no less! I’m sure once you realize that these people have lives outside of their jobs, it will be much easier for you not to reserve anger toward them!
- You can always call the police and report an officer who seems to be abusing the power of their location and job by speeding, pulling over drivers for no reason, or acting in a manner that should not be tolerated.
- Never forget that a police officer’s goal is to do everything possible to keep people safe – including yourself! If a law enforcement officer feels that you are endangering someone in any way, shape, or form, you will receive a ticket for it and will have to pay the consequences. The consequences are not just limited to money though – if you are found guilty of breaking traffic law especially if it is something as serious as killing or injuring someone else due to driving recklessly, you may find yourself behind bars or paying even more money!
- Always be sure to check your vehicle before leaving the house unless you want the headache of going through stressful situations such as being stranded on a highway due to car troubles! Never drive without performing routine checks such as topping off your gas tank before leaving, checking tire pressure levels and levels of fluids (brakes and steering fluid especially), checking tire treads/warning signs alerts on your dashboard/heads-up display screen, checking all lights and turn signals including blinking headlights when parked on hills or curves (helpful when trying to signal other drivers approaching from behind), braking system (including ABS) function check (to make sure it is working properly), turning on air conditioning/heat if weather permits, etc.
Parking tickets are a common occurrence in most people’s lives. If you follow these rules and remember to read the signs, pay attention to your meter, and know your rights, you should be able to avoid getting a ticket. If you do end up with a parking ticket, it’s usually worth your while to fight it. By following these tips, you can avoid having to pay for a parking ticket.