Top 10 DMV Questions – Parking on a Hill
2 out 3 Don’t Know How To Park on a Hill
If you live in a place like San Francisco, parking on a hill is probably part of your daily routine. If you don’t, parking on hills can be confusing. You are probably one of many driver’s who don’t know (and never learned) how to park correctly on a grade. Questions about parking on a hill are a very common pitfall on many road tests and written knowledge tests.
First of all, parking on a hill or a grade is not illegal. You must, of course, make sure that you vehicle is not a hazard when it is parked. Whenever you park, be sure it is far enough from any travel lane to avoid interfering with traffic. It must be clearly visible to vehicles approaching from either direction.
The General Rule
The general rule is to turn the front wheels to the right side. It means, you must turn the wheels to the side of the road and away from the travel lane.
This always applies when you park downhill. It doesn’t matter if there is a curb or not. If your car starts rolling, it will roll off the road and not roll into traffic.
This also applies when you park uphill and there isn’t a curb. If your car starts rolling, there is no curb to stop it. It will simply roll beyond the edge and off the roadway.
The only time the front wheels should be turned the other way, is when you park uphill and there is a curb.
When parking uphill with a curb, turn the wheels to the left and away from the curb. If you let your car roll back just a few inches, the back of your front wheel will hit the curb. That will stop your car from going any further. The curb will act as a second parking brake.
The illustration is taken from the California Driver Handbook.
Other Important Reminders
Whenever you park your car, you must stop your engine and set your parking brake. Leave the vehicle in gear 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. Lock your doors when you leave.
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Parking Rules and Parking on Hills
When you park in Florida there are guidelines you must follow.
- When parking on the roadside shoulder pull off the road as far as possible.
- Park one (1) foot or less from the curb.
Parking Step by Step:
- Set the Parking Brake
- Turn off the Car
- Take your Keys (it’s illegal to leave keys in a vehicle)
- Lock your Car
Park on The Right Side
You should always park on the right side of the road. The only exception is a one way street where you can park on either side of the street.
Before getting out of your vehicle check your blind spots and look for bicycles and other vehicles.
Where Not to Park
There are many places where you should not park including:
- Bicycle lanes
- In front of driveways
- On sidewalks
- Next to yellow painted curbs
More Parking Regulations
There are several locations you must not park too close to:
- Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
- Within 20 feet of an intersection
- Within 30 feet of a stop sign
- Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing
When you are parking on a hill it’s important that your car does not roll into the street.
You should turn your wheels so that if it starts to move it will roll into the curb.
If you are parking downhill — Turn your wheels to the Right.
Parking Uphill with No Curb
If you are parking uphill with no curb — Turn your wheels to the Right.
Parking Uphill with a Curb
This is the only time you turn your wheels to the Left.
Before Getting Out of Your Vehicle:
- Set the parking brake.
- If you have an automatic transmission put your car in park.
- If you have a manual transmission — shift to reverse for downhill and shift to first gear for uphill.
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Parking Tip Tuesday: How to Park on a Hill
We all remember the street sign tests, driving with our parents, hands on 10 & 2, although I think it’s 9 & 3 now? Drivers ed was a memory that sits well with all of us…right?! Well, I thought we could venture back together, and reminisce about parking on a hill. For all our San Francisco friends out there, i’m sure they will enjoy this, and maybe are already very well versed in hill parking! And for the rest of us, I know we’ve all forgotten about these key tips, so lets go back remember how to park on a hill
When parked along side the curb with your car on an incline, turn the front wheels away from the curb. Let your vehicle roll back slowly, allowing your wheels to come in contact with the curb, and using it as a block. This will help the car from rolling in the street if the brakes were to give way.
When you are parking on any type of decline you want to turn your wheels towards the curb. Roll slowly until your front tire is using the curb as a block. This will again help the car not roll into the street if your brakes give way.
Hill Parking With No Curb
Uh, oh! You say there is no curb where you are parking? Don’t fret, there is a way. Always remember if you are parking on a hill with no curb to turn your wheels to the right. This way, if your vehicle would happen to start rolling down or back, it will roll off the road and not into traffic. Always double check when you exit the car, as you can never be to careful.
Parking on a hill: Video Tutorial
Here is a quick video for all the visual learners out there. The gentleman explains why it is important to know which way your tires should be facing, both when you are parking uphill and downhill.
Parking on Hills — Know This for Your DMV Test
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
Know How To Park on Hills
Knowing How to Park on Hills is a Must
Even if a few states fail to mention this in their driver’s manual or handbook, it is important to understand proper parking on hills. You must understand why you park differently if you face uphill or downhill.
Improper is an offense and may result in a ticket. Expect this to be enforced in some cities.
A Pitfall on the Written DMV test
Consider the following question: You park on headed uphill and there is a curb. How should you turn your front wheels?
On the California test, 49 percent of the test takers pick the correct answer. The correct procedure is described on page 46 in the California Driver Handbook along with a good illustration. This, of course, makes it easier for you to learn.
On the Florida test, only 38 percent get the question right. Correct parking is basically described in the handbook with images only. It is easy to miss this when you study the Florida Handbook.
In Connecticut, more than two out of three miss this question (only 32 percent get it right). The driver’s manual does not mention how to turn the wheels when facing uphill. But you are still required to know this, since it is part of your behind-the-wheel driving test.
Park on Hills – The Rule is Simple
To make it very simple, there is only one thing you have to remember: uphill and a curb!
When you face uphill and have a curb, you take advantage of the curb as an extra brake. Turn your steering wheel away from the curb when facing uphill. Let the vehicle roll back a little bit. The back of your front wheel will touch the curb and act as a brake. If you do this, your car will not go anywhere. Set your parking brake. Use “park” if your car has an automatic transmission. Turn off ignition and remove your key.
In all other situations, you turn the front wheels the other way. This means that your front wheels should point toward the curb or side of the road. Facing downhill, the curb will once again act as a brake. When there is no curb, your car will roll off the road – should your parking brake fail!
More About Parking
Additional reading: Parking on Hills
Video released by dmv.ca.gov: California DMV Parking