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Driving Safely: Parking On A Hill

How can you make sure that you park safely on a hill? Should the car be left in gear, and why? We take a look at these questions and what you need to do to park on a hill safely.

Parking on a hill involves precautionary measures that reduce risk of damage or injury in the unlikely event that the handbrake doesn’t hold. These simple measures could save lives.

Parking facing downhill

If you are parking your vehicle facing downhill, turn your front wheels towards the kerb or verge. Make sure that your front tyres are touching the kerb (but not on it). If the handbrake does fail, the car will roll into the side of the road.

Top tip: if you turn your tyres while moving, you will cause less wear on them than if you turn them whilst stationary.

Parking facing uphill with a kerb

If you are leaving your car parked facing uphill and there is a kerb, turn your wheels so that they are facing full lock into the road. If the brakes fail, your car will roll backwards but your front wheels will be stopped by the kerb.

Parking facing uphill without a kerb

If there isn’t a kerb, direct your wheels towards the verge. If the car rolls back, the rear wheels will hit the verge and stop.

Leaving your vehicle in gear

Your handbrake controls your rear wheels, whereas your gears impact the front wheels. If you are parked on a hill, it is a good idea to leave your car in gear as an added precaution. When your car is in a lower gear, it offers greater resistance, so leave your car in first when it’s parked on a hill, no matter which way you are facing.

To ensure your safety, and that of others, on the road, make sure that you are aware of the laws relating to parking and road use, that you follow advice on safe driving as well as safe parking, and that your vehicle is appropriately maintained.

If you would like to boost your confidence and knowledge, get in touch with an approved driving instructor for a refresher course; it could even help you to get a reduction in your vehicle insurance. If you are in doubt about the safety or condition of your vehicle, contact a local mechanic, who will be able to check any elements that you are concerned about and advise you on the best course of action.

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