My Photo


« Camping | Main | Scary Mary »

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


What if you are parking on a hill and there is no curb against which you'd expect your car to stop in the event of that imminent random complete brake loss that our tire aiming intends to correct for? Assume I'm parking uphill. If I turn the wheels to the left, the back end of my car whips out into traffic. If I turn them to the right, my front end is presented to the traffic.

I only ask because this happened to me recently, and I actually considered which way to turn the wheels. In the end I settled for straight on. If the car does suffer imminent random complete brake loss, I'd rather a little smash than a potential big smash. In the case of a parked car suddenly rolling away, one can only expect the situation to get worse as Murphy's Law would require a SUV to be speeding past as my car, unhampered by turning into the curb, away from which my uphill facing car's wheels would normally be steered, rolls directly into the path causing explosion, cars spinning into the neighboring house, death.

I'm curious how often parked cars roll down hills. It doesn't seem likely to me, but I'm not willing not to try to attend to the possibility when I'm parking. As I've pointed out above, it's a question answered by more questions.


You are indeed a Californian and join an impressive line of them. Richard Nixon...Ronald Reagan...Michael Huffington...Arnold Schwarzeneggar...Bob Dornan...David Hasselhoff...


I think you may have slightly misread the question which normally reads.

6. When parking uphill on a two-way street with no curb, your front wheels should be:

Turned to the left (toward the street).
Turned to the right (away from the street).
Parallel with the pavement.

They may say that they want you to pass but this is a trick question. They don't tell you which way because the answer is the same in either case with no curb.

This is form the DMV handbook

Parking On A Hill

When you park headed downhill, turn your front wheels into the curb or toward the side of the road. Set the parking brake.

When you park headed uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb and let your vehicle roll back a few inches until the rear of one front wheel gently touches the curb. Then set the parking brake.

For either uphill or downhill parking, if there is no curb, turn the wheels toward the side of the road so the car will roll away from the center of the road if the brakes fail.


Inneresting. You may be absolutely right, and it’s possible that I simply misread the question. Would certainly not be the first time I misread something. Good thing I don’t have to make my living by reading! I’d be in big trouble!

But in this case I don’t think that’s what happened. As you said, it’s worded one way online. My recollection is that the bit mentioning the curb was not on the actual written test. Had it been, I suspect—at least, I certainly hope—that the DMV employee I discussed that specific question with would have pointed out that the presence of the lack of a curb changes the question in, uh...question. He did not do so. So perhaps he misread it as well. Or perhaps the written test omitted that curb clause in a way that the online test did not.


Thinking about it, I had come to the same answer as SROTD mentions. I hadn't thought about the issue of using a curb. Curbless, the wheels would always be turned so the car would roll onto the sidewalk instead of onto the street. Same way uphill or down.


I have a cousin living in Nova Scotia who recently wrote a book called "Existential Motifs in California Motor Vehicle Registration and Testing Statutes." It was a sequel to his first book, "BLANK All Of You: The Gene Rayburn Story." Perhaps he can be of some help here.

Lois Fundis

I don't know about California, but in the West Virginia Driver Licensing Handbook -- which I have handy right here on my desk (the trick to being a Reference Librarian is Always Knowing Where Your Reference Books Are) -- says:

"Parking on Hills
1) Down hill-Turn wheels to curb
2) Up hill-(With Curb)-Turn wheels to curb
3) Down hill-(No Curb)-Turn wheels right

If you park or stop on a grade, turn the front wheels to the curb side of the highway so the car will not roll. ..."

It then goes on to remind you to set the emergency brake, and to park in the proper gear: Park (automatic) or Reverse (manual) whether downhill or uphill). Nothing about how many lanes there are to the street; that part sounds to me like a red herring.

Anyway, congratulations on passing your test.


Nothing about how many lanes there are to the street; that part sounds to me like a red herring.

No! Impossible! They wanted me to pass! They said so!!!


They mail your driver license to you? That I find odd...

The comments to this entry are closed.