Many people look at the handicap parking areas and wish they had the right to use them. They are usually near the entrance of a business and many offer shade. While having the permit is nice, I really didn’t like the experiences that granted me one.
In order to get a permit, a doctor has to tell the DMV that a patient requires it. They can be temporary or permanent. Temporary permits may last up to six months. If the doctor feels a longer period is required or that the problem isn’t going to heal enough, it can be extended or made permanent. I got mine after shattering my left knee into six pieces; believe me, that was a steep price to pay.
How to Use the Handicap Placard
The rules may vary a bit state by state. Check with the DMV if you do not live in California. In CA, the card allows parking in handicap spaces, green zones, private lots and at meters. The green zone is usually limited to 20 minutes, but someone with a valid placard can park as long as they wish. The placard also means that parking meters do not have to be paid.
When using the card, it has to hang from the rear view mirror in plain sight. Leaving it on the dashboard is likely to get you a warning ticket. The person with the permit must either be the driver or at least in the vehicle to use the placard.
How Not to Use It
Borrowing the card is a bad idea. It will not only get the person borrowing it a fine, it will also harm the person who leant it. The permit holder risks losing the card and may also be fined.
The card doesn’t allow anyone to park on the blue stripes that provide maneuvering room for handicapped people in wheelchairs. It also doesn’t allow parking in red zones or yellow zones.
Parking on the side of a road can be a grey area. If it’s legal to park there and the vehicle is parked safely, it’s fine. If either of the other two problems occurs, the vehicle may be towed.
In California, there is another thing to avoid. In certain areas, streets are narrow and winding. Vehicles parked on the road make it nearly impossible for fire trucks to get through. Whenever there is a red flag warning, the streets have to be cleared and that includes handicap permitted vehicles.
Having the permit has made the problems caused by my accident easier to handle. I’m definitely not the only one. If you see a handicap spot open and you don’t have a card, thank you from the bottom of my heart for not taking it anyway.