Written by Andrei Zakhareuski. With over 16 years of expertise, Andrei leads Driving-Tests.org, a top online resource for driver education. His leadership has established vital partnerships with over 2,600 libraries, educational bodies, and state agencies.

Parking downhill

How to Park on a Hill

To park on a hill safely, the position of your car’s wheels is crucial. Facing downhill, turn your wheels toward the curb to ensure the car rolls into the curb, not the road, if the parking brake fails. When facing uphill, turn your wheels away from the curb, allowing the car to roll into the curb if it starts to move. This technique helps prevent the vehicle from rolling into traffic, enhancing safety.

7 Steps for Safe Hill Parking

  1. Pull forward into the spot you intend to park your car in. If you are parallel parking on a hill, first, park your vehicle as you normally would. Pay attention to the fact that your car will roll downhill and keep your foot lightly on the gas pedal or brake to control the car while parking.

  2. After you have positioned your car into a parking space, shift your car into first gear if it has a manual transmission or into park if it has an automatic transmission. Leaving your car in neutral or drive will increase the risk of it rolling backwards or forwards.

  3. Next, apply your emergency brake. Using your emergency brake is the best assurance that your car will not roll when parked on a hill.

hand brake

  1. Before you turn off your vehicle, you must turn your tires. It is important to turn your steering wheel before turning your vehicle off so you can turn the wheels with power steering. Turning your wheels acts as another backup if your brakes were to fail for some reason. If your emergency brakes fail, your car will roll into the curb instead of the roadway, avoiding a serious accident or major damage.

Parking Downhill with a Curb

Parking downhill When parking downhill, make sure to turn your wheels toward the curb, or to the right (if parking on a 2 way street). Roll forward nice and slow until the front of your front tire gently rests against the curb, using it as a block.

Parking Uphill with a Curb

parking uphill When parking uphill, make sure to turn your wheels away from the curb, or to the left (if parking on a 2 way street). Roll backwards nice and slow until the back of the front tire gently rests against the curb, using it as a block.

Parking Downhill or Uphill without a Curb

parking downhill or uphill If there is no curb available, whether you are parking downhill or uphill, turn your wheels to the right. Since there is no curb, turning your wheels to the right will cause your car to roll forward (parked facing downhill) or backwards (parked facing uphill) off the road.

  1. Always use extra caution when exiting your vehicle when you are parked on an incline or decline since other motorists may have a difficult time seeing you as they zoom by.

  2. When you are ready to exit a parking space on a hill, apply your brakes before deactivating your vehicle’s emergency brake to prevent rolling into the car behind or in front of you.

  3. Make certain that you check your mirrors and look for approaching traffic. Gently step on the gas quickly after letting off your brakes and slowly drive out of the parking spot.

If you remember to apply your emergency brakes and turn your wheels properly, you can be assured that your vehicle will be safe and that you won’t get a ticket!

Was this page helpful?