For those who just bought their first wheelchair accessible vehicle, a lot of questions can arise about accessible parking placards and proper parking etiquette. How do you obtain a placard? Are all accessible parking spaces the same? Here’s what you need to know as you prepare to hit the road in your new accessible van.
Types of Accessible Parking Spaces
Most often, you will come across a standard accessible parking space marked with the familiar blue and white sign. These spaces are considered most accessible for those who do not have a vehicle equipped with a ramp or a lift.
You may also encounter parking spaces with the words “Van Accessible” on the sign. This indicates that the space is designed for a driver who needs to utilize a ramp, lift, or other equipment to enter and exit their vehicle.
Does The Striped Area Next To An Accessible Space Mean Anything?
Yes! If you have ever wondered why some accessible parking spaces have a striped area next to them, it is important to know that the striped area provides extra room for a ramp to deploy. When vehicles park over these lines, it creates a problem for someone who needs that space to safely enter or exit their vehicle.
While it is perfectly legal for anyone with a placard to park in these spaces, the courteous thing to do is leave these spots open when possible in case a side-entry van needs the room.
How Do I Get A Parking Placard?
Handicap parking placards are issued to people who may be suffering from a variety of conditions and chronic illnesses that make it difficult or painful for them to walk. A good place to start is to have a conversation with your doctor to determine whether you may benefit from one of these placards. Each state has their own application process, so check with your state’s DMV to find out what forms you may need to fill out.
Do I Always Have To Display My Placard?
To avoid getting a ticket, or even towed, you should always make sure your parking placard is clearly visible. Additionally, make sure you are aware of your placard’s expiration date so there is no gap between your old one and your new one. You could get a ticket if you are caught using an expired placard.
As you work with your Certified Mobility Consultant to find the right vehicle for your unique needs, do not hesitate to ask any questions you might have about accessible driving! We are happy to help you find the answers you are looking for.
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