Car Blocking Driveway? Here’s What You Can Legally do in Washington State

It’s a fine Saturday night. You’re dressed to turn heads and feeling great about going to the concert with friends at the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater. You see something out of the corner your eye as you turn toward your vehicle. There’s a car blocking your driveway. ‘Are you kidding me?’, you say to yourself (or maybe you say it aloud, a little bit loudly). A hundred thoughts might cross your mind, from ‘who can I call for a ride?’ to ‘do I have enough money for an Uber?’ and even the most extreme thought, ‘how much damage will I do if I just ram that car, gently?’

The first two options are legal, but the third will definitely get you into trouble, and you’ll probably miss your concert. Here’s what you can legally do in Washington State when a car is blocking driveway space on your property.

Car Blocking Driveway: Immediate Solutions

Determine if you can get your car out of the driveway

If you really want to be on your way and your lawn or landscaping can accommodate minor damage, then try to drive around the car blocking your driveway. This is the quickest solution, with minimal costs.

Call the police

In Washington state, a car blocking a residential driveway is illegal. Really, we looked it up. Click on the link in the first sentence to read section 1.b.i. of the Washington State Code, the driveway obstruction law. Technically, no one can park within five feet of your driveway. And when someone commits an illegal act, who do you call? Right. The police. And even though the concert is starting in 45 minutes, call the non-emergency number, not 911.

The police officer may try to find the owner of driveway-blocking car. A ticket is likely to be issued for violating the driveway obstruction law. If the driver can’t be located, the police will call a tow truck to remove the vehicle. This option won’t cost you anything but time (and maybe a grey hair or stress-wrinkle).

Car Blocking Driveway: Longer-term Solutions

Leave a (polite) note for repeat offenders

If you see the same car blocking driveway space repeatedly, a note warning them you may call the police and tow truck – next time — may get results.

Paint five feet of curb on either side of your driveway ‘traffic yellow’

If your streets are curbed, check with your local community to ensure curb painting is allowed and will be enforced. The paint doesn’t guarantee your driveway won’t be blocked in the future, but it’s a clear signal to drivers that parking isn’t allowed.

Post a bright red-and-white “Do Not Block Driveway” sign near your home

You can find these signs at Home Depot, Amazon, or My Parking Sign. Some options include an additional warning: ‘Unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at vehicle owner’s expense.’  Be sure to check with your local community before installing signage. Like the traffic yellow paint, a red-and-white sign can be ignored, but the majority of drivers will respect it.

Seeing a car blocking driveway space can bring out your not-so-nice side. We understand. But if it happens, take a deep breath and evaluate your options. If you need to have the car towed away from your driveway, give Chappelle’s Towing a call. With eight trucks and our can-do attitude, we’ll get you out of your driveway and on your way to enjoying that fine Saturday night!

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