Parking and Tickets: Myths and Realities

In the News

It’s easy to get a parking ticket! There’s lots of confusion about what’s allowed and what’s not when it comes to parking. Here’s five things you need to know to sort fact from fiction and avoid unpleasant and expensive surprises. 

Hazard lights won’t stop you from getting a ticket

Hazard lights won’t protect you from a ticket in a no-parking zone. You should only use hazard lights in dangerous situations (for example, an accident, mechanical problem, bad road conditions, etc.).   

You can get ticketed for parking in a no-parking zone even if it’s just for a few minutes and your hazard lights are on. 

Contesting a ticket because a sign wasn’t clear

Mistakes can happen. For example, it’s possible you didn’t see a no-parking sign because it was hidden by a poster when you were parking. 

If you would like to contest the ticket, you must prove you sincerely believed you were allowed to park there. You must also show you took reasonable steps to make sure you could park in that spot. 

Important: In some municipalities the parking bylaws are stricter, and you might have to pay even if you made an honest mistake. 

Texting behind the wheel: only when parked

You’re allowed to text if you’re legally parked. But you can’t text if you’re stopped in traffic or at a red light. 

If you would like to pull over to text, keep in mind that you’re not allowed to park on the side of a road where the speed limit is 70 km/h or more, except if it’s an emergency and stopping is not prohibited.

If you lend someone your car, you pay for any tickets

The owner of the car is usually responsible for any parking tickets. If you lend your car to a friend and he gets a ticket, you must pay. Of course, you can always ask your friend to pay you back.

You can only avoid responsibility if you can prove your friend used your car without your permission. Your “friend” would then have to pay the ticket.

Drinking behind the wheel: not allowed even if you’re parked 

If you’ve had too much to drink and are thinking about taking a short nap in your car, think again. You could be charged with impaired driving! 

In this situation, the law doesn’t distinguish between a parked car and one that’s travelling. Criminal charges can be brought against you if you’re sitting behind the wheel of a parked car while drunk!