Are you wondering how to stop someone from blocking your driveway? It happens quite often that a neighbor or an unknown person parks illegally in your driveway, disappears, and leaves you all frustrated. In this guide, we will show a few quick and effective ways to free your driveway.
In order to prevent a blocked driveway or have the car removed, you need to follow the tips listed below. Keep reading further for more details and suggestions.
- Talk to the person who parked illegally
- Call the tow companies
- Post a sign in your driveway and paint the curb
- Install a security camera system to prevent people from blocking your driveway
- Contact the police
- Install a gate
Methods to stop someone from parking in your driveway
1. Talk to the person who parked illegally
The first thing you need to do is talk with the person that wants to park in your driveway. Try to be polite and not escalate things. While they are wrong, it’s always better to take things in a friendly way.
If they are already parked and have disappeared, you can leave a note on the windshield. Additionally, you may check if they left any phone numbers.
Sometimes people have a health-related emergency and they’ll park anywhere and drop a note with the phone number on the dashboard.
Another method is to take a picture of the license plate, google it and see if something comes up. In some cases, you may find the owner’s name and the associated phone number. If you get a number, call them and ask to move the car before towing it away.
2 . Call the tow companies
If you want to cut the chase, just call a tow company and they’ll gladly remove the car from your driveway. You don’t even have to pay anything, it will be towed at the car owner’s expense.
However, there are laws that need to be followed when someone parks in your driveway. Normally, it’s illegal to park in any driveway, but many jurisdictions require a “No Parking” sign placed in the driveway. Basically, it depends on the local laws.
When to call a towing company?
Generally speaking, in the following situations, it is legal to call a tow company and have them tow away any illegally parked cars without any charge.
- If the car is illegally parked inside your private residential property, it can be towed at once.
- If the car is parked on a private, non-residential property, when signage is properly posted, it can be towed immediately. The sign must meet several requirements, such as being near the entrance of the lot and being in a clear and visible area.
- If the car is parked on private, non-residential property, without a sign, it can legally be towed after 24 hours. The sign must meet several requirements, such as being near the entrance of the lot and being in a clear and visible area.
3. Post a sign in your driveway and paint the curb
Nothing is clearer than a big “Do Not Block Driveway” sign (or “No Parking”) to keep off inconsiderate people and their illegal parking. Even better if you add the “Unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at vehicle owner’s expense” line as a reminder that their wallet will get lighter.
Ensure that the sign is readable from a good distance and that there are no barriers obscuring the view. You can find a variety of these signs on Amazon, we’d recommend going for a larger version to avoid any confusion.
Additionally, you may place traffic cones, other barriers or even paint the curb in bright yellow as a signal to inform other drivers not to park in your driveway.
4. Install a security camera system to prevent people from blocking your driveway
Security camera systems serve not just as a deterrent in stopping people from parking in your driveway but they can prevent vandalism and car theft.
Additionally, this will come in handy when dealing with a repeat offender, you will have solid evidence to show to the police.
You can check your cameras remotely from your phone and see in real-time if anyone is parked in your driveway. If an incident happens, you can playback and backup the footage for later use (such as showing it to the police).
A few things to consider:
- Post a visible and large sign indicating that the area is under surveillance.
- Install large and noticeable cameras. You’d want people to see the cameras first which will prevent them from blocking your driveway. Here are some camera systems that we recommend.
5. Contact the police
If you see a car in front of your driveway, you can call the police and get the local authorities involved, especially if calling a tow company is not an option.
Calling the police is a good idea if someone blocks the entrance to your driveway (so, not exactly your private property), and contacting a tow company is not allowed.
As we said, there are some rules that prevent tow companies from removing cars that are not on your private property (unless the police give them permission).
Let’s say someone parked their car in your entrance or is somehow blocking your driveway but it’s not exactly on your private property.
In this case, you call the local police, they will ticket the car, and call a towing company on their behalf. So, the car’s owner has to deal with the police and not you.
6. Install a gate
Another solution is to install a gate in your driveway and make it physically impossible for anyone to park a car. Nowadays, they have automated gates that can open remotely using your phone or special car remote controls.
However, apart from the gate, add a security camera to monitor the situation in real time. You can even get notifications if there’s a motion in front of the camera.
Common Questions and Answers About Driveway Parking
Can you get an illegally parked car towed for free?
If the car is clearly illegally parked inside your private property, you can call a local tow company and they’ll have it towed away for free.
However, the best way is to call the police, they’ll issue a citation and then call the tow service of their choice (without charging you). So, you don’t have to deal with the car owner in any way.
This is the right way to tow a car because it avoids liability in case the car gets damaged during the towing process.
By reporting it to the police, it creates a paper trail and the towing is done upon the police’s request. If something happens to the car, the police agency serves as a protection layer between you and the car owner.
How much does it cost to get a car towed?
Rates depend on your location, the time (more expensive at odd hours), the company reputation, etc.
Generally speaking, estimates are as follows: $40 to $100 (between five to seven miles), $100 to $250 (between 40 miles), and $300 to $600 (100 miles), and sometimes you may need to tip the driver as well.
How to report a car blocking my driveway?
Most states and cities have made it easier for residents to reach out to law enforcement if they encounter these problems. If someone’s car is illegally parked in your driveway, call 311 to report to authorities. This number works anywhere in the US and it will automatically connect to your local enforcement agencies.
Once you are connected with someone, inform the operator that an unauthorized vehicle is blocking your driveway. Make sure to relay your location, plate number, and year/make/model of the vehicle.
A police patrol car will be dispatched to your location to issue the vehicle a summons for blocking your driveway. After the vehicle is ticked, you can either let the police call a tow company or you call one of your choice. The vehicle will be logged at the local police department so the owner can locate it.
Additionally, there are also websites created where people can submit blocked driveway and illegal parking requests.
For example, you can google your town/city followed by “report blocked driveway” and you should be redirected to your local town’s webpage where you can fill an online complaint.