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Need to Stop or Park Your Vehicle? When looking to stop or park your vehicle, make sure you know the law.  Washington law prohibits parking your vehicle in specific areas.  These areas include on the road way, on sidewalks, in an intersection, cross walks and more.  You may park your vehicle on the side of the road in only limited circumstances, such as your car being disabled.  You must provide for prompt removal of your vehicle in those circumstances.  In all cases you should abide by any signs posted and the other rules of the road.  To know under which circumstances you are permitted to stop, park or stand your vehicle read the following rules of the road to ensure compliance with the law:

RCW 46.61.560: Stopping, standing, or parking outside business or residence districts.

(1) Outside of incorporated cities and towns no person may stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon the roadway.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section and RCW 46.61.570 and 46.61.575 do not apply to the driver of any vehicle that is disabled in such manner and to such extent that it is impossible to avoid stopping and temporarily leaving the vehicle in such position. The driver shall nonetheless arrange for the prompt removal of the vehicle as required by RCW 46.61.590.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the driver of a public transit vehicle who temporarily stops the vehicle upon the roadway for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers at a marked transit vehicle stop zone approved by the state department of transportation or a county upon highways under their respective jurisdictions. However, public transportation service providers, including private, nonprofit transportation providers regulated under chapter 81.66 RCW, may allow the driver of a transit vehicle to stop upon the roadway momentarily to receive or discharge passengers at an unmarked stop zone only under the following circumstances: (a) The driver stops the vehicle in a safe and practicable position; (b) the driver activates four-way flashing lights; and (c) the driver stops at a portion of the highway with an unobstructed view, for an adequate distance so as to not create a hazard, for other drivers.

(4) Subsection (1) of this section and RCW 46.61.570 and 46.61.575 do not apply to the driver of a solid waste collection company or recycling company vehicle who temporarily stops the vehicle as close as practical to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder of the roadway or right edge of the roadway if no shoulder exists for the purpose of and while actually engaged in the collection of solid waste or recyclables, or both, under chapters 81.77, 35.21, and 35A.21 RCW or by contract under RCW 36.58.040.

RCW 46.61.570: Stopping, standing, or parking prohibited in specified places—Reserving portion of highway prohibited.

(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall:

(a) Stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(i) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(ii) On a sidewalk or street planting strip;

(iii) Within an intersection;

(iv) On a crosswalk;

(v) Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within thirty feet of points on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless official signs or markings indicate a different no-parking area opposite the ends of a safety zone;

(vi) Alongside or opposite any street excavation or obstruction when stopping, standing, or parking would obstruct traffic;

(vii) Upon any bridge or other elevated structure upon a highway or within a highway tunnel;

(viii) On any railroad tracks;

(ix) In the area between roadways of a divided highway including crossovers; or

(x) At any place where official signs prohibit stopping.

(b) Stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers:

(i) In front of a public or private driveway or within five feet of the end of the curb radius leading thereto;

(ii) Within fifteen feet of a fire hydrant;

(iii) Within twenty feet of a crosswalk;

(iv) Within thirty feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(v) Within twenty feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to any fire station within seventy-five feet of said entrance when properly signposted; or

(vi) At any place where official signs prohibit standing.

(c) Park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers:

(i) Within fifty feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; or

(ii) At any place where official signs prohibit parking.

(2) Parking or standing shall be permitted in the manner provided by law at all other places except a time limit may be imposed or parking restricted at other places but such limitation and restriction shall be by city ordinance or county resolution or order of the secretary of transportation upon highways under their respective jurisdictions.

(3) No person shall move a vehicle not lawfully under his or her control into any such prohibited area or away from a curb such a distance as is unlawful.

(4) It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve any portion of a highway for the purpose of stopping, standing, or parking to the exclusion of any other like person, nor shall any person be granted such right.

RCW 46.61.575: Additional parking regulations.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a two-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels parallel to and within twelve inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder.

(2) Except when otherwise provided by local ordinance, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a one-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked parallel to the curb or edge of the roadway, in the direction of authorized traffic movement, with its right-hand wheels within twelve inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder, or with its left-hand wheels within twelve inches of the left-hand curb or as close as practicable to the left edge of the left-hand shoulder.

(3) Local authorities may by ordinance or resolution permit angle parking on any roadway, except that angle parking shall not be permitted on any federal-aid or state highway unless the secretary of transportation has determined by order that the roadway is of sufficient width to permit angle parking without interfering with the free movement of traffic.

(4) The secretary with respect to highways under his or her jurisdiction may place official traffic control devices prohibiting, limiting, or restricting the stopping, standing, or parking of vehicles on any highway where the secretary has determined by order, such stopping, standing, or parking is dangerous to those using the highway or where the stopping, standing, or parking of vehicles would unduly interfere with the free movement of traffic thereon. No person shall stop, stand, or park any vehicle in violation of the restrictions indicated by such devices.

RCW 46.61.590: Unattended motor vehicle—Removal from highway.

It is unlawful for the operator of a vehicle to leave the vehicle unattended within the limits of any highway unless the operator of the vehicle arranges for the prompt removal of the vehicle.

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