What is Gravity?

Everyone and everything experiences gravity every day.  Gravity is the force that attracts all objects toward the Earth's center.

downhill sign

Gravity has a major effect on your vehicle when you are driving downhill or uphill.

When you are driving uphill, gravity's power is working against you, meaning it pulls your car the opposite direction, which slows down your car. You will need more engine power in order to stay with the flow of traffic. So, when driving uphill, you may need to accelerate or shift to a lower gear to increase your engine's power against gravity and stay with the flow of traffic.

When you are driving downhill, the gravity's power will force your car to go faster and causes your vehicle to take longer to stop. So, when driving downhill, you may need to shift to a lower gear to slow down and push your brakes gradually and smoothly to slow down to a safe speed and have better control of your vehicle.

When you park your car on a hill, the gravity's power pulls your car down the hill. So, to keep your car from rolling down the hill when parking:

  • Leave the car in a low gear (manual transmission) or Park (P) (automatic transmission).
  • Always use your parking brake.
  • Position your front wheels in a way that will direct your car to roll away from traffic if your brakes fail.

When you park your car facing downhill, you should turn your front wheels towards the curb or side of the road, so if your car starts rolling down, it gets stopped by the curb and does not roll away into the traffic.

When you park your car facing uphill, and if there is a curb, you should turn your front wheels away from the curb, so if your car starts rolling down, it gets stopped by the curb.

If there is not a curb, you should turn your front wheels toward the curb, so if your car starts rolling down, it does not roll away into the traffic.