In any country, traffic is governed by certain rules and regulations. It is always wise to familiarize with them so that you do not get into trouble with authorities. Parking is one of those areas where you need to know the governing laws. Especially in countries where authorities are strict, parking wrongly can attract hefty fines. In some cases your vehicle can be towed away. Parking scenarios are several and one of them pertains to parking near driveways. It is important that you know how close you can park to a driveway entrance. Our central focus is on applicable US law.
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Why The Distance Within Which You Park Close To A Driveway Entrance Matters
Fundamentally, this is meant to ensure you do not block a driveway. If you park too close to a driveway entrance you can make it hard for vehicles to enter into the driveway. You also make it hard for vehicles already in the driveway to leave when needs be. The other blocking aspect regards blocking the view of drivers entering or leaving the driveway. For instance, due to a blocked view, a driver leaving the driveway would have to exit precariously. They would have to drive out or back out straight till past the blocking vehicle.
This means they will reach as far as the other lane without seeing if there is oncoming traffic or not. Then they would have to make an abrupt turn to face where they want to go. All of that can be avoided if you do not park too close to a driveway entrance. As a matter of principle, think of a driveway entrance like you would an actual junction or intersection. Surely there is no way you would park too close because you know it creates risks or disruptions.
Distance Considerations When Parking Close To A Driveway Entrance
The specific distance you must park away from a driveway entrance varies. One of the most common stipulations pertains to fire station driveways. For such driveways you must not park less than 20 feet (6 meters) away. This is practically understandable given the dynamics surrounding fire trucks. Generally, for residential driveways, or driveways in general, it is not allowed to park less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) away. These two guidelines are widely observed and considered law in many states in the US. To be on the right side of the law, parking a significant distance away is smarter. Parking way beyond 5 or 20 feet from a driveway entrance, depending on the context, is best.
Parking Directly Opposite A Driveway Entrance
Another key detail here is that proximity to the driveway entrance also applies to parking opposite it. This is important to note because some might just think of either sides of the driveway entrance. Parking directly opposite i.e. parallel to the driveway entrance should be avoided. It clearly blocks the driveway entrance.
Is It Okay To Park Too Close If The Driveway Is Not In Use?
Some drivers might want to use the excuse of a driveway not being in use. It is quite possible that truly a driveway might not be in use. However, it is still not allowed for you to park too close to it. After all, you cannot definitively be sure because a vehicle might want to enter the driveway any time unannounced. There are some exceptions though, some of which are:
Exceptions That May Apply
Loading Areas And Handicap Spots
There are scenarios where you can park closer than the stipulated distance to a driveway entrance. One of those exceptions is when you are parking on a loading bay or area. The other one is when you park on a handicap spot. If those two are closer than the stipulated distance to the driveway entrance, it can be excusable to park there. Regardless, it is prudent that you check for signage or ask someone if it is lawful to park there.
Private Land Or Property
On private land or properties, there can be exceptions i.e. the allowable distance to park close to a driveway can be different. Let us suppose that your lot only has one dwelling unit or building. It may be okay for you to park in front of the driveway. That is of course if that will not break other applicable traffic rules and regulations. Again, it is advisable to seek clarity from the responsible authority. In whatever scenario, when in doubt you better find a parking spot considerably far away from any driveway.
Stuck Or Necessitated Due To Traffic Or Certain Circumstances
There is a possibility you might get stuck due to traffic. This might place you right in front or next to some driveway. If that happens, though not always likely, you can be excused. There can also be incidents where you vehicle breaks down too close to a driveway entrance. That again may be excused. There are also scenarios where someone is being picked up or dropped off. This could be by school buses for example. Given that the parking will be momentary, it can be excusably done in front or quite close to the driveway entrance. However, do appreciate that fines can be imminent if you are in strict regions. Thus it is best to always abide by applicable laws or to use reasonable discretion.
These are the essential details on US law that applies to parking close to driveway entrances. You must not forget that applicable laws vary depending on where you are. Even within the US, in some states the laws can vary. There are also places where there are no ordinances governing how close you can park to a driveway entrance. If that is the case, you just have to use considerate discretion. You can even use guidelines that apply to places where there are governing laws. Bottom line is that you should leave substantial room so as to not block the driveway entrance.