Angle parking bad for big rigs

Snohomish County’s love for big trucks has come to haunt the streets of downtown Everett.

The city’s downtown angle parking spots are apparently too small for many of the full-size trucks and sport utility vehicles on the road these days.

Rather than have their prized Hummer get nipped by a passing car, many drivers of these trucks and SUVs have taken to popping one front tire up on the curb or sidewalk.

While it may get them out of the way, it’s illegal.

“It’s actually a violation to park on a sidewalk – even with just one wheel,” said Kate Reardon, a city spokeswoman.

And while it’s not a behavior the city has targeted, traffic tickets are issued if a truck is spotted parked on a sidewalk, Reardon said.

The penalty is $20.

But the SUV and truck drivers do have it rough when it comes to parking. That’s because it’s also illegal to have your truck’s rear end so far out in the road that it blocks visibility.

Although they are part of Everett’s unique downtown character, these angled parking spots may no longer be the right fit for today’s big rigs.

Remember how annoying it is just trying to back out of a diagonal spot on Colby Avenue? Obviously backing into traffic poses some challenges, but it’s downright dangerous to do so when there’s a massive truck parked next to you, blocking your view of potentially rear-ending traffic.

Clearly, some people need these vehicles to carry heavy stuff around, like a load of pea gravel or half a soccer team, but it can be frustrating parking near them.

One solution might be that drivers of big rigs should find a place to parallel park. Because what you may not know is that it’s legal to take up two parking spaces if necessary.

Just stay off the sidewalk.

Turn on your lights

The State Patrol would like to remind drivers to use their headlights during all low-light situations.

The law requires that headlights and all other exterior lights needed for safe driving be used a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise.

Parking and fog lights are not enough when it’s dark or foggy enough to obscure visibility, according to a driving tip released recently by Christine Fox, who works in the equipment, standards and review section of the State Patrol.

The bottom line is that drivers should turn their lights on when it’s gray, dark or raining.

The reminder is particularly important now, with the days so short and so often cloud-covered.

“Use low beams in fog or when it is snowing or raining hard as light from high beams will reflect back, causing glare and making it more difficult to see ahead,” Fox wrote in her tip. “Remember you want to be seen and be able to see others.”

Sounds like good advice, especially for drivers like me – I drive a silver-colored vehicle that’s not much different from winter gray.





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