Parking on a hill can be tricky. No matter how good your brakes are, there’s always the tiny chance of them failing, sending your car rolling back down the hill. Thankfully, there are other ways you can secure your vehicle when parked on a slope, especially if there’s a curb.
Firstly, turn your wheels to the left when parking on a hill with a curb. Then, allow your car to roll back slightly so your front-right wheel rests against that curb. Next, shift to Park (in automatics) or first gear (in manuals) so the transmission system helps keep your car stationary. Lastly, you can secure your car with wheel chocks to prevent them from moving.
Parking on a hill is tricky as it can put you and others at risk if your brakes fail. As you read this guide, you’ll learn 5 crucial tips for parking on a hill like a pro and keeping your car from leaving its parking spot.
Why Is Parking More Dangerous On A Hill?
Firstly, one important thing that all drivers must understand is that parking on a hill is risky, regardless of whether your vehicle is parked facing uphill or downhill. The reason for that is gravity.
Gravity continuously pulls the vehicle down the slope whenever your car is parked, even on a slight slope. Those forces become even stronger when the incline on that slope is higher or when the vehicle is heavier (like in commercial trucks).
Parking brakes are reliable and should keep your car or truck stationary and secure. Still, there’s always a possibility that those brakes will fail, and your vehicle will roll down that hill.
The potential damage and loss of life from such a situation make hill parking a serious matter, and that’s why local governments often have rules in place about how you park your vehicle. Those rules are enforced by the law with potential fines for not following them.
As such, you must understand how to park uphill like a pro by using the curb to secure your vehicle. The section below will help you do that like a pro!
5 Ways To Park Like A Pro Uphill With A Curb
Here are 5 tips for parking like a pro uphill while making use of the curb to secure your vehicle:
1. Turn Wheels To The Left
The first and most important tip for parking uphill with a curb is to leave your wheels turned fully to the left. In other words, the curb will be on your right, and your front wheels must be pointed away from them.
The reason for that is straightforward: if your brakes fail and gravity pulls your car backwards, your turned wheels will prevent the vehicle from rolling straight down the hill. Instead, they’ll cause the car to turn sideways and come to a halt.
Leaving your wheels pointed away from the curb ensures they’ll roll backwards into that curb and quickly stop. The curb will prevent the car from rolling down the hill at all.
Your car won’t even get far enough to leave its parking spot when done correctly.
2. Secure The Car With The Curb
Suppose you’ve parked as close to the curb as possible and turned the wheels to the left as described above. Now, take it a step further by deliberately using the curb to secure your car, even before your parking brakes possibly fail.
Here’s another pro move to remember.
Once you turn your wheels all the way to the left, put your gear into neutral and deliberately let your car roll backwards until the front right-side wheel rests against the curb.
Then you can put the car in park and engage the parking brake.
Doing it this way will prevent your car from rolling if your brakes fail. When the wheel is already pressed against the curb, the vehicle has no chance of building momentum. So, there’s no chance of the car rolling back and over the curb at all.
3. Put Automatic Transmission Into Park
Many drivers park their vehicles by putting the gear into neutral and engaging the handbrake (also called the e-brake or parking brake). Doing that is sufficient to keep your parked car from moving, but you’re not making full use of all your car’s features.
Suppose you’re driving an automatic transmission vehicle. In that case, you must always put the transmission into Park, but only after you’ve engaged the parking brake.
So, not only is your car kept in its place by the braking system, but the transmission will also do its part to keep your car secure.
That’s because putting the transmission into Park engages the parking pawl, a small component that locks the transmission gear and prevents the vehicle from moving.
As a result, your parked vehicle is secured by both the braking system and the transmission. Better yet, sharing the burden means both components experience less wear in the long term.
4. Put Manual Transmission Into First Gear
If you’re driving a manual transmission instead, you can do something similar to leverage your transmission when parking. For example, you can leave your car parked uphill in first gear.
The engine will remain connected to the wheels when your car is in first gear. As such, you’ll leverage the engine’s compression to keep your car stationary while it’s parked on a steep hill.
Of course, you’ll still want to use this pro move along with engaged parking brakes. Just like the previous tip, using the transmission and the brakes simultaneously while parked on a hill secures your vehicle and reduces the wear they experience.
5. Use Wheel Chocks
Sometimes, turning your wheel so it rests against the curb, leveraging the transmission, and engaging the hand brakes are not enough to give you peace of mind.
Thankfully, there’s one more method you can use to secure your vehicle like a pro, especially if it’s a larger, heavier van or truck.
You can do that by using wheel chocks.
Wheel chocks are wedges made of wood or durable plastic that you tuck underneath the wheels to keep them from rolling backwards.
You’ll probably notice that the concept of a wheel chock is similar to the second tip you read above of resting the wheel on the curb. However, there’s only one curb, but you can use chocks on all your wheels.
Doing so will prevent the wheels from rolling back and ever building momentum, thereby stopping them dead in their tracks.
These days, you can find wheel chocks made from materials like wood and plastic. But remember that you can use alternatives like bricks or large wood pieces tucked behind each wheel to achieve the same results.
Chocks, combined with turning your wheels and resting them against the curb, switching to the correct gear, and engaging your brakes, will undoubtedly keep your car from moving a single inch while parked uphill.
As a responsible driver, you must learn how to park uphill with a curb. That’s true even if your town or city doesn’t have many slopes or hills to park on. Not only is this a matter of keeping your vehicle safe, but it also prevents damage and injury to other road users.
Aside from engaging your brakes, turn your wheels to the left and let the front right wheel roll back to rest against that curb. Then, shift your gear to Park for automatics or first gear for manuals.
Lastly, you can put chocks under each wheel to prevent them from moving.