When your vehicle is towed, it's frustrating and confusing. In highly populated areas, parking restrictions can be difficult to determine between street signs, painted zones, and policies that change by the hour. With monthly car payments, gas, and auto insurance already putting a strain on drivers' bank accounts, a towing fee can be a huge inconvenience. And that's in addition to the drawn-out process of trying to get a car back from the lot. Towing companies can be unresponsive and leisurely with their time-frames. Here are some ways that drivers can avoid ever having to make that frantic call again.
Find out neighborhood parking laws beforehand
Every town has a unique set of rules when it comes to parking. In larger cities, these restrictions can vary from one neighborhood to the next, making it even more difficult for drivers to get a grip on parking regulations. The best way for drivers to prevent their cars from getting towed in an unfamiliar part of town is to research parking laws before getting behind the wheel. Local police department websites will usually have a clear set of rules and regulations for their parking policies. These sites might also feature resources to help drivers understand street cleaning schedules, bus routes, and peak traffic hours that could increase the chances of a car being towed.
Community forums in major cities will often give detailed descriptions of the best places to park in a given neighborhood, or provide insider tips on cheap parking lots or spaces that few people know about. It may be tempting to want to get away with a free parking space, but the negative consequences are often heavy. Paying a few dollars to park a car in a privately owned lot is preferable to paying an upwards of $100 to a tow company.
Conditions change from one season to the next
Winter weather means that drivers should be extra considerate when looking for parking. Tow companies do very well during cold months due to vehicles breaking down, but also because drivers fail to notice snow-covered parking regulation signs and painted tow zones on streets. A recent article from WABI of eastern and central Maine explained that local towing companies are having trouble keeping up with the number of vehicles that need to be moved. Drivers should always charge their car batteries before a harsh winter.
"This has been an exceptional December. We haven't had a December like this in a long time. It's good for us. Make hay when the sun shines," Steve Thompson, co-owner of Arbos in Waterville, Maine, told the news source. "That's a lot more than usual," he continued. "We got nine trucks and they're all busy. Like right now I'm backed up probably 15 calls and that's with nine trucks on the road."
Mobile applications help drivers out in a pinch
Mobile apps are now helping drivers avoid being towed at all. Drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area have a new service known as CurbTXT creates a network for drivers to communicate with one another when someone's vehicle is parked in an illegal spot or blocking a driveway. According to Fast CoExist, the service is trying to team up with the city's parking management service to coordinate alerts with police and fire departments. The future of parking is just around the corner.