Skip to Content

Can You Block Your Own Driveway? | What You Should Know

It’s not uncommon for some folks to obstruct their driveways with rocks and other objects to prevent unwanted guests from entering their driveways. In fact, my neighbor has sporadically done this a few times over the years. This blog post will highlight all you need to know about blocking your driveway and the legal implications.

You cannot block your own driveway in most states. Many motorists have been fined for blocking their own or someone else’s driveway. Even if you own your house, the local council owns the section of the driveway extending beyond your property boundaries.

Why You Should Not Block Your Driveway

Sometimes public utility or emergency vehicles may need to access your property, and blocking your residential driveway may cause problems. Parking in front of a driveway is illegal in the United States, even in your driveway. The law protects the safety of people walking, cycling, and driving.

It is also illegal to park cars on the sidewalk next to a driveway, which means that if you live on a street with other houses that have driveways, you can’t park on their sidewalks or driveways. 

The law does not apply to commercial parking lots or garages open for business 24 hours a day.

The most common argument against parking in front of a driveway is that it causes traffic congestion and creates safety hazards for pedestrians and drivers. Parking in front of your driveway can cause many issues, especially with snow plows and emergency vehicles.

Blocking other people’s driveways is also considered a safety hazard since you may be preventing other vehicles in the driveway from pulling out to seek emergency services. Sometimes blocking a driveway may obstruct other motorists’ view of the road, which can cause accidents.

Tractor blocking a residential driveway
This forces pedestrians to step into the road when walking by

What Are the Legal Implications of Blocking Your Driveway?

According to the law, you may have to pay a fine if caught blocking your driveway, or you may get penalty points on your license. In some cases, you may be towed for blocking a driveway entrance, whether yours, private or public.

While it is against the law in most states in the United States to block your driveway, there are exceptions to this rule, although they only apply to commercial or government property. It will be at the local authority’s discretion to determine the extent of the offense.

Even partially blocking your driveway can earn you fines. The law does not provide exemptions because it is your driveway. However, dropping or picking up a passenger on your driveway may not be considered an offense under this law.

It is not illegal to park fully in your driveway. You will only get fined or towed for blocking your driveway or someone else’s. Therefore, it is recommended that you either park in your garage, on the street, or fully in your driveway.

In some states, no laws regulate who can park on what side of the street. However, there are laws against blocking driveways. If you block your driveway, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a civil infraction. 

Blocking your driveway entrance is a parking violation, and you may be cited in states with zero tolerance for this offense. Parking your vehicle in a way that obstructs blind people, those in wheelchairs, or pushing prams could land you in legal trouble.

HOA Rules 

Some HOAs have restrictions that prohibit parking in driveways, while others allow it with certain limitations. The rules may also vary based on whether or not a driveway is shared with other properties, if it is accessible from public streets, and if there are any restrictions on parking in front of a property line.

Limitations may also depend on the state in which you live. Some states don’t allow HOAs to restrict or prohibit parking in driveways, while others do allow them to limit or prohibit parking in front of driveways.

It is essential to note that homeowners associations can restrict the use of a driveway but cannot limit the use of a sidewalk or street. 

Local Laws

As of now, there is no federal law that prevents homeowners from blocking their driveways. Yet some states have laws against it, such as California, Florida, and Oklahoma. Many local state laws govern the use of a driveway. However, some states have specific laws that prohibit blocking a driveway.

For example, in California, blocking any driveways with your car or other object is illegal without permission from the property owner or agent.

State laws on blocking a driveway vary, but most require that the driveway be blocked only when necessary, such as in emergencies.

While local laws differ from one state to another, the following are the general rules for blocking a driveway:

  • In most states, you can block your driveways as long as it’s not an obstruction of traffic or safety concerns.
  • In some states, you cannot block your driveways if they are on public property, such as sidewalks and roads.
  • If you live in a community with shared driveways, it is illegal to block your driveway without your neighbors’ consent.

In San Francisco, it is legal to block your driveway if the building has less than two units or your vehicle is registered to that building’s address. The same rules also apply in New York City as long as you do not violate other parking regulations, like parking your vehicle in front of a fire hydrant.

In Washington, blocking your driveway is illegal, but in most cases, authorities may ignore this infraction unless it is reported. In some states, the only rule is that you should not block someone else’s driveway, block their car or park your vehicle in front of somebody else’s property for a long time.

Bollard partially blocking a driveway
This would be legal in some areas since it doesn’t block a sidewalk

Can You Get a Ticket for Blocking Your Driveway?

You can get a ticket for blocking your driveway in most parts of the United States, as blocking your driveway with a vehicle is illegal. However, you may not get a ticket for blocking your driveway if parking has a legitimate purpose, such as hauling firewood or building a deck. 

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some states, such as Oregon and Washington, it is legal to block driveways with vehicles if the owner has obtained a permit from their local government.

If you are parking on a public road adjacent to your home and blocking traffic from passing through, it’s also illegal, and you can be ticketed. In most states, like California, you can get a ticket for blocking your driveway. 

The police issuing the ticket may not know that it is your car but will only consider the offense committed, irrespective of who is blocking the driveway. One major problem is that the enforcement officer may not be able to determine if someone has permission from the property owner or HOA to block a particular driveway.

You can be fined between $80 to $100 for blocking your driveway. This penalty will apply even if only a part of your vehicle is out of the recommended zone. If your vehicle’s wheel is over a dropped curb, it is a parking offense. Dropped curbs are meant for those with wheelchairs, and others are meant for drivers to access driveways

Watch this video to learn more about blocking your driveway:

Final Thoughts

It is essential to know your local rules regarding parking on driveways. Many people think they can pull into a parking spot or park in front of any driveway. However, this is not always the case. 

If you do not observe the parking regulations and do not follow the rules set by your city, you could be fined or towed away from the area.

For more, don’t miss Can You Park in Front of a Mailbox? | What You Need to Know.