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driving concerns

SAMI SIVA/The Globe and Mail

Can I get a parking ticket if have my hazards or turn signal on? What about if I'm in the car? — Garry, Toronto.

We'd hazard a guess that blinkers won't fend off a parking ticket, but we checked with the city to make sure.

"If parking is prohibited, you are only allowed to stop your vehicle and be actively engaged in loading or unloading passengers or vehicles. " says Jacqueline White, director of Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District. "There may be an exception if your vehicle is actually disabled but I once had a parking enforcement officer tell me that the hazard signals act more like a beacon to attract them."

You can get a ticket any time you're parked in a no-parking zone, even if you're sitting in the car, White says.

And, if there's a No Stopping or No Standing sign, then you can't stop there period, even if you're dropping off grandma.

Plenty of people get parking tickets in Toronto — the city issues about $80-million in parking fines a year. Since 2008, Toronto has collected more than $24-million in fines for parking too close to a fire hydrant.

You can't park here

We asked White about a few other parking myths:

If there's no No Parking sign, then you can park there: This one's true, unless you're too close to a bus stop, driveway, corner or fire hydrant. "There are certain instances where signs are not required for parking or stopping to be prohibited," White says. For example, you can't ever park within 60 cm of a driveway, within 3 metres of a fire hydrant or within 9 metres of an intersection — whether or not there's a No Parking sign.

You can only be towed if there's a Tow Away sign: This one's false — you can be towed away if you're parked or stopped anywhere you're not supposed to be, White says. "Toronto Police Services has the authority to tow an illegally parked vehicle at any time," she says. "'Tow-Away Zone,' signs are often posted in areas where enforcement efforts tend to be focussed, to provide (motorists) with extra warning."

There's no point in fighting a parking ticket: Another false, White says. "Each year, of the 2.6M tickets issued, approximately 500,000 are cancelled for a variety of reasons." If you have a ticket you'd like to challenge, check out the city's parking ticket cancellation guidelines. For example, a ticket could be cancelled if a No Parking sign was covered up or missing, if a parking meter wasn't working or if there was a medical emergency.

Readers, if there are other parking myths you'd like to see challenged (in Toronto or any other city) — or you just want to weigh in with your own stories — join the conversation by clicking on the comments below, or email

If you have questions for Jason Tchir about driving or car maintenance, please write to

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