Parking on a hill - California DMV

Parking on Hills is a Common Pitfall

Parking on hills is a common pitfall on many driving tests and the DMV written knowledge tests.

First of all, remember that parking on a hill or a grade is not illegal, unless posted signs or painted curbs say otherwise. You must, however, always make sure that you vehicle is not a hazard when it is parked. It must be far enough from any travel lane to avoid interfering with traffic. It must also be clearly visible to vehicles approaching from either direction. Do not park in locations that are hidden, such as just beyond a curve or close to the crest.

Turn the Wheels so They Will Stop the Car

Turn off the engine, set the parking brake, and lock the ignition. Then, turn the front wheels so your car will not roll into to traffic if brakes fail.

The general rule is to turn the front wheels to the right. That means to the side of the road and away from the travel lane.

The only time the front wheels should be turned the other way, is when you park uphill and there is a curb.

Let the Car Roll Back

When you park uphill and there is a curb, you turn the wheels to the left and away from the curb. If you let the car roll back a few inches, the back of your front wheel will hit the curb. That will stop your car from rolling any further. The curb will act as a second parking brake.


  • Downhill – no curb: turn wheels to the side of the road.
  • Downhill – a curb: turn wheels to the side of the road.
  • Uphill – no curb: turn wheels to the side of the road.
  • Uphill – a curb: turn wheels away from the side of the road.

Remember, whenever you park your car, you must stop your engine and set your parking brake. Leave the vehicle in gear or reverse if it has a manual transmission or in park if it has an automatic transmission.

Before getting out, remove the keys. Never leave the ignition keys in a parked vehicle. It is also a good habit to lock your doors when you leave your car unattended.