Can You Park Across the Street From a Fire Hydrant? Legality

Can you park across the street from a fire hydrant?” is certainly a valid question that many drivers ask. While it is general knowledge that you cannot park your car directly near a fire hydrant in virtually all cities in the United States, there is some ambiguity when it comes to parking across a fire hydrant.

Parking Fire Hydrant ~ Ran When Parked

Continue reading this complete guide as we discuss the legality and consequences of parking too close to a fire hydrant.

Is It Legal to Park Your Car Across the Street From a Fire Hydrant?

Yes, it is legal to park your car across the street from a fire hydrant in cities in the United States. Fire hydrant parking laws forbid parking on the same side or near a fire hydrant. However, there is no law against parking opposite a fire hydrant.

There is no consensus on the allowable distance between your car and a fire hydrant when parking. Some cities have larger allowable distances between fire hydrants and vehicles than others. However, leaving a distance of at least 15 feet between your car and a fire hydrant will almost always be enough.

In the United States, the standard lane width is 12 feet, meaning most roads will be at least 24 feet long. Considering that a distance of 15 feet will generally be legal, parking across the street will easily eclipse this benchmark and will be perfectly legal.

Narrow Streets

You can park opposite a fire hydrant in narrow streets if the legal distance between a parked car and a fire hydrant is low. However, this is not the case in most cities, and it will be illegal to park across a narrow street from a fire hydrant.

Car in a Narrow Streets ~ Ran When Parked

Although there is no exact specification on the dimensions of a narrow street, it is worth noting that a standard lane in the United States is 12 feet.

Therefore, a narrow street will expectedly be around nine feet, which is less than the 15-foot limit in the fire hydrant parking laws of most cities. In that case, it will be illegal to park opposite the fire hydrant.

Penalty

The penalty for parking your car too close to a fire hydrant varies from city to city. Typically, you can be looking at a parking ticket of $100 to $200. Depending on the peculiarity of the case, fines may be as much as $1,000.

City authorities determine the fine a car has to pay if they park too close to a fire hydrant. The fine will increase with repeat offenses. However, there are also non-financial penalties. The most serious is officials towing and confiscating the vehicle. The exact penalty depends on the particular case.

In some cases, police officers will not spot your infringement and you get a free pass. In other cases, police officers can spot you just after parking and ask you to move your vehicle. Either way, it is important to note that the fire hydrant parking regulations are there for safety reasons and should be respected at all times.

Are Fire Hydrant Parking Laws Consistent Across the United States?

No, fire hydrant parking laws are not consistent across the United States. In other words, there is no federal law that dictates the permissible distance between a parked car and a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant parking rules vary from city to city.

Fire Hydrant Parking Laws ~ Ran When Parked

Generally, the permissible distance range between a parked car and a fire hydrant is between 3 to 15 feet. The exact distance, however, can vary depending on the state and city you are in.

Sometimes, there will be signs around the fire hydrant that indicate where cars are allowed to park. But if there aren’t signs, it is advisable to cross-check the parking regulations of the city you are in before parking near a fire hydrant.

Color of the Fire Hydrant

Parking regulations do not depend on the color of the fire hydrant. Depending on the function, fire hydrants can be yellow, red, or green. Only the yellow and red ones are functional and represent private and public-owned hydrants, respectively. Green ones are merely for decorative purposes.

Regardless of whether the hydrant is red or yellow, as long as it is functional, it is illegal to park in front of it. Usually, parking on street laws across the fire hydrant is favorable, except when the street is unnaturally narrow.

Size of the Fire Hydrant

The size of the fire hydrant does not matter when parking your vehicle, as does the color of the hydrant. Different hydrant sizes indicate how many gallons per minute (GPM) the hydrant can discharge, and the higher the risk of a serious fire breaking out, the larger the hydrant.

Size of the Fire Hydrant ~ Ran When Parked

However, the size of the hydrant does not matter when parking your vehicle. This means the same fire hydrant parking rules will apply to all functional fire hydrants.

Why Are Cars Not Allowed to Park in Front of a Fire Hydrant?

Cars are not allowed to park in front of a fire hydrant because firefighters need easy access to the fire hydrant in case there is a fire. Aside from easy access, it is also important for firefighters to have the freedom to move around fire hydrants.

Cars Not Allowed to Park ~ Ran When Parked

If a car is obstructing the movements of firefighters, it will be difficult for them to put out a fire as they may be unable to connect their hose to the fire hydrant. The obvious danger is a risk to the health and safety of people and properties. Unsurprisingly, state and city authorities frown at this, necessitating fire hydrant parking regulations.

The vehicle itself may also incur some risk, as firefighters and police officers will employ any means necessary to access a fire hydrant. This involves breaking into your vehicle, which will very likely get the inside of your car very wet. Also, firefighters’ trucks are quite massive and may ram into your vehicle in their bid to access fire hydrants.

When Is It Permissible to Park in Front of a Fire Hydrant?

It is only permissible to park in front of a fire hydrant if there is a driver in the vehicle, and the vehicle will be parked for not more than two minutes. This is especially common when cars have to stop to load or unload passengers.

Permissible to Park Vehicle ~ Ran When Parked

Aside from when passengers are getting out or into the vehicle, police officers also usually refrain from giving a penalty when a driver is in the car. Take note that just having someone in the passenger seat will not suffice, as the point is that there has to be someone who can move the vehicle immediately in emergency situations.

Even if you do not intend to keep the car parked for more than a few minutes, you may be asked to move the vehicle away. This is opposed to police officers giving you a financial penalty in the form of a ticket.

Is it Legal to Park Near a Fire Hydrant if My Car is Locked and I Need OnStar to Unlock it?

Yes, it is legal to park near a fire hydrant if your car is locked and you need OnStar car unlocking services. OnStar car unlocking services can help you quickly and safely unlock your car without risking a ticket or impeding emergency services.

Frequently Asked Question

Can Your Car Be Damaged if You Break Fire Hydrant Parking Regulations?

Yes, your car can be damaged if you break fire hydrant parking regulations if it gets in the way of firefighters effectively carrying out their duties. Usually, the car windows are shattered, and a hose is passed through the parked vehicle to gain access to the fire hydrant.

Other ways your car may be damaged include water entering your vehicle after the hose has been passed through your windows. If there are also other electrical tools or components in your car’s interior, they may be damaged, too.

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