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Curbside Parking


A Must Watch Curbside Parking Video for Any New Driver

Curbside parking is not only a driving skill used by many drivers almost every day, it is also a skill that is essential for new drivers to master as it will be tested on the DMV drive test. There are many steps that you must follow in order to curbside park properly, and making one mistake, like hitting the curb or forgetting to S.M.O.G., can result in an automatic fail on your drive test. Furthermore, drivers need to be comfortable with backing up in a straight line alongside the curb. Join professional driving instructor, Micah, as he shows you the Drivers Ed Direct way to curbside park and back up in a straight line.

Basics for Curbside Parking Like a Pro

When Approaching the Curb

  • Always S.M.O.G. (Signal Mirror Over-the-shoulder Go) before pulling over to the curb.
  • Proceed towards the curb very slowly, at a "walking pace".
  • While you want to park within 18 inches of the curb, don't get super close to the curb. Hitting the curb is considered a critical driving error (automatic fail).
  • When you're within 18 inches of the curb and your wheels are straight, put your car in park and apply the parking brake.

When Backing Up Alongside the Curb

  • When backing up, look over your right shoulder and out your back windshield 90% - 95% of the time. Only use your mirror as needed, using quick glances.
  • Keep your left hand on the top (12 o'clock position) of the steering wheel. Try to keep the wheel straight without making large movements on the steering wheel.
  • Back up very slowly, covering the brake the entire time. If you do need to use the gas at all, apply very little pressure on the gas pedal.
  • Back up until the DMV examiner tells you to stop, and make sure to put the car into park (don't leave it in reverse).

When Pulling Away from the Curb

  • Always S.M.O.G. (Signal Mirror Over-the-shoulder Go) before pulling away from the curb.
  • If you see a car coming from behind you, let the car pass by before you pull away from the curb.
  • Make sure to put your car into drive before leaving the curb. Some students accidentally leave the car in reverse after backing up, and then auto fail when they attempt to pull away from the curb, but their car is still in reverse.

Curbside Parking Video Transcript

Curbside parking. It's something you're going to have to do almost every day as a driver and it's something you're tested on. Today I'm going to show you how to curbside park and how to make sure you don't get an automatic fail on that part of the drive test.

So let's say you want to curbside park or you're taking your drive test and your examiner says, "Please curbside park." We want to start with our signal, check our rearview mirror, right mirror, and blind spot. We're SMOG-ing in, and then we're going to want to go into the curb. Now the closer we get to the curb, the slower we want to go so that by the time we get close to the curb, we're going at a nice slow walking speed. Then we want to try to get around 18 inches or closer to the curb and then when we like our distance, we're going to stop and then put the car in park, and that's it. That's the curbside park.

Now I recommend getting started a little far from the curb. Give yourself a little extra room from the curb when you first start out curbside parking and then get closer and closer. That's so you don't hit the curb and pop your tire or kind of do damage to the sidewall of your tire. Now, real-world, it's good to get kind of close to the curb because then there's less of a chance someone is going to hit your car on the left side. But on your drive test, if we hit the curb, it's an automatic fail. So I tell people," you've got 18 inches. Take advantage of those 18 inches on the drive test." Let's say you're a little far from the curb on the drive test. You're like 19 inches. Your examiner's not going to pull out a tape measure and say, "Hmm. Looks like you've come a little too far away from the curb there. That's an automatic fail." Now as long as you're about 18 inches or closer, you're going to get a pass.

Now next on the drive test they're going to say, "Alright. Please reverse in a straight line and I'll tell you when to stop." Now, this is going to be easiest if you put your left hand, top middle of the wheel, and you put your right-hand kind of behind your passenger chair.

Now during this part of the test, we need to look 90 to 95 percent out of our back window. You can use your right mirror, like 5 percent of the time to kind of, you know, kind of manage your distance to the curb. It's kind of easier to see your car and the curb, but if we use our back camera or rear view mirror, it could be an automatic fail on the drive test. A lot of people I teach just kind of stay facing forward as they try to back up, but that's a for sure way to fail the test. So we throw our left hand, top middle of the wheel and that's because then without even looking at the wheel, you know when your wheels are straight because your hand will just be at the top of the wheel.

Now, as you're backing up, if you get too close to the curb, we're just going to turn the wheel a little away from the curb or to the left. That will bring you away from the curb. Now if you're a little far from the curb, were going to turn our hand to the right or towards the curb. Now that's going to bring your car into the curb. But you'll notice I'm just barely turning my hand when I make an adjustment. I'm not turning a ton because that will cause you to go really far away from the curb and you have to counter-steer so it's best to kind of back up like this. I'll give you an example.

My car is in reverse. I'm backing up. If I wanna get closer to the curb, I'm going to turn a little towards the curb. If I wanna go away from the curb, I'm going to turn a little away from the curb. Now the trick is to keep your car going really slow. My foot is still on the brake pedal. I'm keeping the car going at a nice slow walking speed. Now at some point, your examiner is going to say, "Alright. That's far enough." You're going to stop and put your car in park. You can set the emergency brake and then they're going to say, "Alright. Let's continue straight, put the car in drive. We're going to release the emergency brake. Now we need to S.M.O.G. so were going to do our left signal, rearview mirror, left mirror, blind spot, and if it looks good, you can pull back out and continue straight. Of course, if a car is coming down the street - if you see one in one of your mirrors or your blind spot, you're going to let them go if it looks like you could impede their right of way.

Now, that's the curbside park. It's a fail on the test if we hit the curb. It's a fail we don't S.M.O.G., and other than that, you're looking pretty good.

Thank you for watching our video on curbside parking. Good luck on your drive test! See you in the next video!