Uphill and Downhill Parking Tips and Tricks

Parking on a hill can be tricky, especially if you're a new driver. Do you turn your wheel left or right? And when do you use the parking brake? If you need a little help when it comes to keeping your car safe on steep roads, here are some of the best hill parking tips and tricks.

Uphill Parking Tips and Tricks

The good news? As long as you study up on the best uphill and downhill parking tips, you should have no problem parking safely. Here's what you'll need to do:

Curb Your Wheels

This is San Francisco's most popular parking trick. Regardless of which direction your car is facing, uphill or downhill, you want to turn your wheel so your tires are pointed toward the curb. So if you're facing downhill, turn your steering wheel toward the curb. If you're facing uphill, turn it away from the curb. Once you've parked, allow your vehicle to roll just a bit until your tires gently touch the curb.

Point Your Wheels in a Safe Direction

Curbing your wheels works great — if there's a curb available. But what if you have to parallel park on a hill with no curb? The procedure is pretty similar to curbing. You still want to turn your wheels so that your car is pointed toward the side of the road. Again, if the car is parked uphill, turn away from the curb. If it's parked downhill, turn toward the curb. This way, if your brakes fail and the car begins to roll downhill, it will end up on the grass or against a tree rather than causing an accident with another car.

Use Your Vehicle's Parking and Braking Features

Whether you're on a hill or not, you should always set your car in park and engage your parking brake before you turn off the engine. Unfortunately, many Americans have gotten used to referring to the parking brake as the "emergency brake." This has led a lot of people to believe that it's only necessary for emergencies. That's not true. You should set this brake every time you park, especially if you park on a hill. This will save your transmission from unnecessary wear and tear in addition to keeping your car in its spot.

Use Wheel Blocks or Chocks for Perpendicular Parking

If you have to park perpendicularly on a steep hill, you might want to invest in some wheel blocks, sometimes called "chocks." These are wedge-shaped items that you place behind your wheels. They'll keep your vehicle from rolling away if your parking brake fails. They might be a good thing to invest in if you regularly park on a giant hill or know you'll be traveling somewhere with monster hills, like San Francisco.

Take a Driver's Ed Course

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that all teens take a driver's ed course, even if the state doesn't require it. That's because teen drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a deadly car crash than adult drivers are. According to NHTSA, the reasons for this disparity are immaturity and lack of experience. A driver's ed course will teach you everything you need to know about driving — and parking — safely. You'll also get to practice this skill with a professional instructor.

We hope this information gives you the confidence you need to safely park on a hill. Happy driving!

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