There is nothing quite like watching your car being towed away because of some stupid mistake you made. It's even worse to find your vehicle is among the missing and you have no idea where to begin looking for it. Both happened to me in my younger days and taught me expensive lessons. Pay attention.

I remember sitting in a bar in Portland, Maine with my brother decades ago, and he said, "Hey, isn't that your car going by on the end of that hook out there?" Sure enough, I had parked illegally and got towed. I ordered a couple more beers and then went out to find the thing.

And then there was the time I covered Governor Mike Dukakis' State of the State Address at the State House in Boston and parked the clearly-marked station van in a tow zone on Beacon Hill. Hey, I am the media.

My tech and I returned to find the van had been towed. We would have been stranded had then-State Representative Joe McIntyre not traced the vehicle to Captain Hook's Towing in South Boston and lent us the money for a cab ride and to pay for the van's release.

During this week's storm, 194 people had their cars towed for not adhering to New Bedford's parking ban. And 621 tickets were issued, totaling more than $31,000 in fines. In Fall River, more than a thousand tickets were issued, totaling more than $40,000 in fines.

Most towing "victims" plead ignorance. They didn't know about the parking ban. They didn't know they were supposed to check to see if a ban had been implemented. For future reference, when a parking ban is implemented, it gets reported by all local media, posted on the city's website, and often sent out on a robocall.

The latest iPhone must have a weather app on it, no? If storms are coming, start thinking about parking options.

You ought to know that when it snows, a parking ban is implemented. This is true most everywhere it snows and is not unique to our local area. Besides, ignorance of the law does not exempt you from it anyway. If you didn't know about the parking ban, I bet you do now.

Pay your fine, stop whining, and next time it snows, park where you are supposed to park and you won't get towed. Lessons learned.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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