For Your DMV Test: Know How to Park on Hills
Parking on hills is a common pitfall on many practical driving tests, as well as the DMV written knowledge test.
First of all, remember that parking on hills or grades is not illegal, unless posted signs or painted curbs say otherwise. You must, however, always make sure that your 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 where others can’t see your car, such as just beyond a curve or close to a crest.
You must also know how to stop your car from rolling into a travel lane. In California, you can get a ticket if you don’t angle your front wheels correctly when parking on a 3% (or more) grade.
Parking on Hills – General Rule
Whenever you park your car on a hill, 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, which means to the side of the road and away from the travel lane. If your car starts rolling, it will roll away from the travel lane and off the road. If you turn the front wheels the other way (away from the side and toward the travel lane), your car, or at least a part of it, will always roll into the travel lane.
The only time the front wheels should be turned to the left and toward the travel lane, is when you park uphill and there is a curb.
A Curb Will Stop the Car
When you park uphill and there is a curb, you turn the wheels to the left and away from the curb. Before you set the parking brake, you let the car roll back a few inches and hit the curb. The curb will act as a second parking brake and stop your car from rolling any further.
Parking on a Hill – Summary
- 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.
More reading for permit takers: Parking on Hills – Driver Tips