6 Reasons You Should Make Sure Your Disabled Parking Permit Is Valid In The Winter
Winter can bring about difficult driving conditions for everyone, but especially for handicap parking permit holders. In fact, there are a number of factors at play that could require you to use your placard more frequently or more urgently. Because of these aspects, it’s absolutely essential that you have a valid disabled parking permit in the winter. Read on for the main reasons why having a permit is crucial once the weather turns cold.
Why you need a disabled parking permit valid in winter
1. To avoid long traffic lines
In the holiday season, everyone is out and about running errands and shopping. This leads to a definite increase in traffic. Long traffic lines make it even more important for you to have a handicap parking permit in winter, so you can have accessible parking once you’ve arrived at your location. You can probably skip some parking lot lines, too, if you have a handicap parking permit valid in winter.
2. To cope with a lack of spots available
When parking lots become more crowded during the holiday season, people often have to fight for a decent parking place. With a disabled parking permit, you have instant access to convenient handicap parking spaces. Another bonus is that you won’t have to fight over other standard parking spots. Avoiding parking lot confrontations is always a good thing!
3. In case you need a parking spot to stop and rest
Holiday shopping and running errands can be exhausting, especially if you have a disability. Sometimes you might find that you just need to sit in your car for a few minutes in order to rest before you get back out there again. Having a disabled parking permit in winter means you can rest in your car in your handicap parking place until you’re feeling stronger. Plus, resting in your car means you’ll be protected from the bad weather conditions that might be happening outside.
4. To get through all of your errands
Getting all your holiday tasks done can feel overwhelming if you are having issues with mobility. With a handicap parking placard, you can conserve your energy by getting access to a close, convenient parking place. Instead of losing stamina by hiking through a parking lot (especially in inclement weather), you can focus your energy on finishing your Christmas shopping and other important errands.
5. To decrease the potential for accidents
The winter season is often full of bad weather that can lead to less than optimal road conditions. Because there is such an increase in the likelihood of accidents, disabled drivers need to be even more cautious. Having a valid placard means you can stay parked until the weather is better or the road conditions have improved.
6. To get adequate parking at doctor’s offices
Because cold weather can be harder on some people’s systems and because of the higher risk of illness during the winter season, many individuals with disabilities head to the doctors’ office more frequently during this time. That’s why it’s crucial for you to be able to park in accessible spots whenever you visit the doctor. Having a valid disabled parking permit during the winter can make these visits much easier on you.
How to make sure your disabled parking permit is valid in winter
You’ll want to ensure your parking permit is valid whenever you use it, the whole year round. Every state has different processes for renewing a permanent placard, and the expiration date for each placard varies from state to state as well. To find out when you’ll need to renew your placard (it’s typically every two to four years), head to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle website for more information.
Leave plenty of time for your renewed placard to be mailed to you, especially since the government can get backed up processing applications. Some states do require individuals to get another medical certification from their doctor for renewal applications, so make sure to leave time for this step as well. If you don’t have a handicap parking permit yet, visit the same website for instructions on how to apply for a permit in your state.
How to use your handicap parking permit during the winter
You’ll need to follow all the regular rules of the road during the winter season, including the regulations that non-disabled drivers need to follow. Make sure to always hang your placard from your rearview mirror when you’re parked and then remove it whenever the vehicle is in motion. Never lend your placard out to friends or family and always make sure your placard is valid and up to date. You can also check with your local law enforcement to see if disabled drivers are eligible in your area for any other parking perks (such as free parking at street meters) that could make your life easier during the winter season.
Although it can be tempting to just snag a handicap spot because it’s closest to the location you’re heading to, you should only do so if you have a valid disabled parking permit. Once you do, feel free to take advantage of the many benefits of owning a handicap placard during winter.