California Driver Handbook - Parking
When you park:
- On a sloping driveway, turn the wheels so the vehicle will not roll into the street if the brakes fail.
- Headed downhill, turn your front wheels into the curb or toward the side of the road. Set the parking brake.
- Headed uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb and let your vehicle roll back a few inches. The wheel should gently touch the curb. Set the parking brake.
- Headed either uphill or downhill when there is no curb, turn the wheels so the vehicle will roll away from the center of the road if the brakes fail.
Down Hill Up Hill No Curb, Up Hill or Down Hill
Always set your parking brake and leave the vehicle in gear or in the "park" position.
Parallel parking is a driving technique which allows you to park parallel to the road in line with other parked vehicles. The steps below explain how to parallel park safely.
- Find a space. Look for a space at least 3 feet longer than your vehicle. When you find a space, signal that you intend to park.
- Pull your vehicle alongside the space or vehicle in front of where you intend to park. Leave approximately 2 feet between the vehicle or space next to you and stop once your bumper is aligned to the space. Check your rear view mirror and look over your shoulder for approaching vehicles. Keep your foot on the brake and put the vehicle in reverse. Maintain the signal.
- Lift your foot off the brake. Before backing up, check your mirrors and look over your shoulder for any hazards. Begin to back up, at approximately a 45 degree angle.
- Straighten out. Begin turning the steering wheel away from the curb when your rear wheel is within 18 inches from the curb. You may need to pull forward and backward to straighten out. Your vehicle should now be parallel and no further than 18 inches from the curb.
- Check for hazards. Check your mirrors and look over your shoulder for any hazards before opening your vehicle door.
Bring your car to a stop alongside the car at the front of the space.
Reverse into the space with an S motion.
Once the car is parallel with the curb, pull forward to center your car within the space.
Painted colored curbs have the following special parking rules:
White–Stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail.
Green–Park for a limited time. Look for a posted sign next to the green zone for time limits, or locate the time limit painted on the curb.
Yellow–Stop no longer than the time posted to load or unload passengers or freight. Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are usually required to stay with the vehicle.
Red–No stopping, standing, or parking. (Buses may stop at a red zone marked for buses.)
Blue–Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or a driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or a special license plate for disabled persons or disabled veterans. Disabled people with a placard or special plates may park in special areas for unlimited periods of time, regardless of time restrictions. No one other than a disabled person or a driver of a disabled person may park there. A crosshatched (diagonal lines) area adjacent to a designated disabled parking space is a no parking area. Qualified persons may apply at any DMV office or visit the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov to obtain a form for a parking placard or special plates. An identification card will be issued to holders of disabled person or disabled veteran license plates.
Example of crosshatched (diagonal lines) area
NOTE: Placard abuse results in the loss of special parking privileges. It is also a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, or both.
Examples of placard abuse:
- Using a placard after it has been reported lost or stolen without reporting that the placard was found.
- Loaning your placard to friends or family members (disabled or not).
- Interchanging placards with friends or family members.
- Using a placard when the person it was issued to is not in the vehicle with you (disabled child, family member, disabled employer, etc.).
- Using a deceased person’s placard.
NOTE: Disabled plates and/or a placard must be surrendered or returned to the nearest DMV within 60 days of the death of the disabled person. The plates and/or placard can also be mailed to the following address:
PO Box 942869 MS D238
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Never park or leave your vehicle:
- Where a “No Parking” sign is posted.
- On a marked or unmarked crosswalk, sidewalk, partially blocking a sidewalk, or in front of a driveway.
- Within 3 feet of a sidewalk ramp for disabled persons or in front of or on a curb that provides wheelchair access to a sidewalk.
- In a disabled person parking space, unless you are disabled and display a placard or disabled license plates.
- In the space next to a disabled person parking space, if it is painted in a crosshatched (diagonal)
- pattern (CVC §22507.8(c)(2)).
- In a space designated for parking or fueling zero-emission vehicles which display an identifying decal.
- In a tunnel or on a bridge, except where permitted by signs.
- Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or a fire station driveway.
- On or within 7½ feet of a railroad track.
- Between a safety zone and the curb.
- “Double parked.” (Parking in the street when all legal parking places at the curb are taken.)
- On the wrong side of the street.
- At a red curb.
- On a freeway, except:
- In an emergency.
- When a peace officer or device requires a stop.
- Where a stop is specifically permitted. A vehicle (even if disabled) that is stopped, parked, or left standing on a freeway for more than 4 hours may be removed (CVC §22651(f)).
NOTE: If you must stop on a freeway, park completely off the pavement and stay in your vehicle with the doors locked until help arrives. Leave enough space for other vehicles to freely pass by your vehicle. Your vehicle should be visible for at least 200 feet in each direction.
- When you park alongside a curb on a level street, the front and back wheels must be parallel and within 18 inches of the curb. Park parallel to the street if there is no curb.
- Never leave your vehicle while the engine is still running; stop the engine and set the parking brake.
- When you are ready to exit your vehicle, look carefully for passing vehicles, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Do not open the driver’s side door unless it is safe and you do not interfere with traffic. Do not leave the door open longer than necessary.