Can I Park My Car Opposite the Flow of Traffic in Washington State?
If you’ve ever tried to park your car on a busy street, you know the feeling of desperation when all the parking spots are taken. You may have been tempted to park facing the opposite direction of the traffic flow, but is this legal in Washington State?
I know that many years ago I had parked in the opposite direction of the other cars on my block and received a "friendly" reminder from the police on my "stellar" parking job.
Let's take a look at what Washington State laws say about parking against the flow of traffic and if it’s permitted or not.
Washington State Law on Parking Opposite Traffic Flow
According to RCW 46.61.570, drivers aren't permitted to park their vehicle facing against the flow of traffic on any public road, highway, or in any public parking lot unless otherwise posted by a local authority.
This law applies to all vehicles – cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, etc. Fines for violating this law can be up to $124; however, this amount varies depending on location and severity.
The Reason Behind the Law In Washington State
There are several reasons why it is illegal to park your car against traffic flow in Washington State. Firstly, parking against traffic flow can create an obstruction for other drivers which can lead to potential accidents and injury.
It can also be difficult for other drivers to see around vehicles that are parked facing the wrong way on narrow roads or streets.
Additionally, by parking against traffic flow, you may be blocking access to driveways, sidewalks, or crosswalks which could impede pedestrians trying to cross the street safely.
How Can I Avoid Breaking This Law?
The best way to avoid breaking this law is to make sure that your vehicle is always parked with the front end pointing in the same direction as the flow of traffic.
If you find yourself in a situation where there are no available spots facing in the correct direction and all that remains are spots facing against it, then you should avoid parking there altogether until a spot opens up that allows for legal parking.
Additionally, if you know ahead of time that you will need to park your car facing against traffic flow (e.g., if you need space for unloading cargo), then you should contact local authorities beforehand so they can provide guidance on how best to proceed without violating any laws.
Parking your car in the opposite direction of traffic flow may seem like a small thing but it can have major consequences if done improperly or without proper authorization from local authorities.
In Washington State, it is illegal and punishable by law so make sure to check your surroundings before parking and always try to follow best practices when possible.