When you’re visiting a new town, it can be extremely confusing to remember all the driving and parking rules. Every corner of the world has its special parking rules and California is no exception. Some rules have been created to avoid dangers due to its unique geographical features, some are there just for practicality and to keep the traffic flowing nicely. Either way, it’s good to know what they are so you can avoid injuries, hefty fines or damage to your vehicle.
Why, you ask? California is a hilly region, so imagine just how many cars would be sliding downhill when their owners forget to pull the break or the brakes simply fail.
These are the simple rules to follow:
If you’re parking downhill, turn your front wheels INTO the curb or towards the side of the road
If you’re parking uphill, turn the front wheels AWAY from the curb and pull your car back until the wheels touch the curb
If there is no curb, turn your wheels in such a manner that the car would roll TOWARDS THE SIDE of the road, not the center
ALWAYS set the brake
Photo courtesy of California DMV
Failing to adhere to these rules, you might find yourself some $60 lighter!
Color coded parking
Once you’re in California, you may notice colored curbs. They’re not intended to make the city more colorful and fun :D Instead, they are used to signal what sort of stop you’re allowed to make in that designated area. We listed all the colors and their meanings, along with the ticket you’ll receive if you fail to oblige.
WHITE is for picking up / dropping off passengers — you’re allowed to stop as long as you don’t get out of the car.
YELLOW means short stops for loading / unloading passengers or items, such as mail, food etc are allowed. If you’re driving a non-commerical vehicle, you’re not supposed to leave the car.
GREEN signifies limited time parking, usually 15–30 minutes. Don’t forget to check for parking meters around!
BLUE tells us that parking is allowed only for disabled people with a required placard or license plate.
RED means no parking or stopping at any time, under any circumstances!
If you’re planning on driving throguh a city in California (such as San Diego), it’s probably a good idea to familiarise yourself with these rules. Or you can just save/print the graphic below.
Uncoded, grey areas, are usually available for unrestricted parking; however, they are still usually metered, just like green areas, so be sure check if there’s a sign and / or meter around and pay for parking if necessary. Don’t forget to check for additional traffic signs nearby to see if there are any additional rules to follow.
It’s also prohibited to park…
When there’s a NO PARKING sign
In front of fire hydrants
On a crosswalk or sidewalk
In front of a driveway
Near railroad tracks
On the shoulder of a freeway — expect in emergencies
On the wrong side of the street, facing oncoming traffic
Remember, these are some statewide laws, but local authorities may have set their own rules and it’s advisable to check these as well. Additionally, if you intend on mostly driving in the city, we recommend getting a compact car, as they fall under fewer parking restrictions.
Are you traveling to San Diego or California soon and need a rental car? You can find us at the San Diego Airport and rent a car from our wide variety of vehicles that cater to everybody’s needs! Our deals start at $28/day or $149/week!
Still trying to find the best rates? Look no further, you’re where you need to be.
Book your car rental now and we’ll provide you the best possible deal.