Snow Daze: Pay Attention To City Snow-Plowing Schedules To Avoid Being Towed

If you've just moved to a city that has frequent and abundant winter snowstorms from an area that doesn't get that much of the white stuff at all, be aware that many cities have strict snow-removal laws that could get your car towed if you aren't careful.

Towing companies often work 24 hours a day and can come out in a moment's notice if the city needs your car removed now. Snow plows need to access the entire street, so if you have no off-street parking and leave your car in an area that's due to be plowed, you will end up having to pay to get your car back from a towing company. Laws and options will vary from city to city, but here's a general look at what you have to do to keep your car from getting towed.

Call The Towing Service Yourself

If your car is having trouble and isn't fully operational, call a towing service, such as Standish Towing & Recovery Ltd, to have it moved to a mechanic's lot immediately. Use a 24-hour emergency towing service; they'll be familiar with the repair shops in town that allow cars to be dropped off overnight. Don't leave your car on the street, thinking it's going to be towed anyway -- you'll get fined by the city in that case. If you tow it, you won't have to worry about impound lots or steep penalties.

Get the Schedule

Some cities plow on a regular basis, while others plow only as needed, announcing the days and times only a short time beforehand. Find out what your city does and how to be notified of the days and times. The evening before the plowing -- it often occurs overnight -- park your car somewhere else when you get home from work or school. Don't park and think you'll move the car later -- you might be too tired.

If the city has a regular plowing schedule, find out if plowing ever happens outside that schedule, such as after a blizzard. You need to find out if there's a way to predict when the city is going to attempt plowing again.

Don't leave your car on the street and feign ignorance. The snow can build up around your car, so after the plow goes by, there's a huge pile of snow where your car is. Plus, some streets are so narrow that the plow can't get through if cars are parked on the sides. If the city has to plow, it will tow your car and any others that are in the way.

Find a Place to Go

Whether your apartment complex just doesn't have enough spots, or you live in a house with so many people that you can't all park in the driveway, you need to find somewhere to plant you car during plowing. Some cities open up public lots for free (instead of charging like they usually do). If your city does this, it should have a list of lots that you can consult. Get a copy and keep it in the glove compartment.

You could also see if nearby apartment complexes have extra visitor spots that you could use. Do this only with the complex's permission; you might need to get a permit from them for overnight parking. Note that if a complex has only one or two visitor spots, it probably won't let you park there. Look for big complexes that have rows of open parking.

If you need more information on towing due to snow plowing, contact the city office in charge of plowing, and also towing companies. They'll be able to fill you in regarding how to work with the system and keep your car out of the impound lot.